As a freelancer, you’ll know how thrilling it is when a new client messages you saying they want to hire you. Out of all the web developers, they’ve chosen to work with you! There’s no feeling like it.
You’ll also know that means it’s now time to get down to work. To manage projects, exceed expectations and do a stallion of a job. Also, managing several projects when they’re all down to you is no mean feat. There are no colleagues to pass coding work onto. Nobody standing over you, reminding you of deadlines and putting the pressure on. It takes self-discipline, organisation and motivation.
Yep, this is all on you.
As a web developer, you’ve got to find a way of managing the projects to get the work done and meet your clients’ expectations.
So, how do you manage each project successfully without pulling your hair out?
Here are some Twine’s top tips in partnership with Monday.com:
Get A Detailed Brief
At the start of a project, find out exactly what your client wants, from the design and format down to the way you communicate with each other. Do they like to be messaged on WhatsApp or is a weekly Skype call better? How do they want files to be sent? Will you be responsible for the initial development or ongoing maintenance as well?
Without asking the right questions, it means further down the line you’ll be asking the client about certain details, which will take more time. Not that you can’t your client questions, but it’s a good idea to get the requirements and scope of the project from the start.
Break Down Tasks
Web development is an intricate and detailed role and each project will have several stages involved. From stablishing the tech stack through to Beta testing, break down the project into these steps each week. Create mini-deadlines for yourself and check in on Friday to review where you’re at and if you’re on track. Monday.com has a helpful feature for planning a project’s individual tasks and makes it clear to see your progress. You can customise it to your needs, shuffling tasks around if they’ve taken longer than you thought.
Work in Chunks
Web coding, design and development can be really intensive and take a lot of your concentration. It’s super-easy to sit at your desk for hours and think you need to sit there until you’ve done the bulk of the work. However, if you don’t take a break, your brain will end up wearing out. Consequently, you’ll lose focus and end up feeling cranky. Work for an hour or two, then take a break.
A sign you need a break? If you feel yourself losing focus or your shoulders start to slump, it’s time to stop for 20 minutes. Ideally, you want to break before you get to that stage. Monday.com has handy boards that help you block out time and plan which tasks you’ll be working on each day.
Split your time Among Clients
Divide your time among your different client projects, working on one stage of a project at a time. Many web developers think that by multitasking on different projects at once, it will make them more productive, but this isn’t always the case. Web developing takes focus and attention to detail to get the job done well and this needs your exclusive attention.
Turn off your notifications, put your phone on silent, do whatever it takes so that you don’t get distracted with other projects. It’s easy to answer the phone to another client or respond to an email, but unless it’s really urgent – try to avoid it until you’ve finished working on one task.
You might be surprised at how much you can get done when you’re focused on one task.
Spread Out Deadlines
Having deadlines coming up at the same time can be a nightmare when you’re trying to meet client expectations. It’s not always something you can control, but try to spread out deadlines a little bit if you can. That way, you can pace yourself.
This way, when a project deadline is coming up, you can focus on that one knowing that you still have a few more days or a couple of weeks to finish another project.
Monday.com’s timeline features present task planning in different ways so that you can see which tasks are coming up and how much more you have to do.
You can view tasks in the way you prefer, either on a calendar, on a chart or as a timeline view.
Monday.com makes it easy to prioritise your web development tasks and track your progress.
Send A Draft
Many web developers complete a project and have the buzz that comes from completing a project, happily handing it over to the client within the deadline. But…what if the design or layout wasn’t quite what your client has in mind?
When it comes to end product, you want to make sure you’re on the right track. Work on a draft first and send it to the client WAY before your deadline to make sure it’s on the right lines of what your client envisions. This gives the client the chance to tell you early on if they want something different and gives you the time to correct it.
Send a second draft to check!
It sounds so obvious but…! When you get several clients, creating and updating different coding files can quickly grow and become overwhelming. Get a system in place for organising your files and organise them by date, client name or whatever makes it easiest for you.
Make it clear which file is which so that you don’t get muddled, or send your client the outdated file by mistake.
Monday.com has a function that has helped many freelancers easily import files and data, and to then organise these into files.
Changes are bound to happen over the course of a project, no doubt about it. The client will ask for edits to be made or elements to be added. It’s easy to be a client-pleaser and say you can do it, but…this isn’t always the best answer. Your client has no idea about web development (the reason they hired you, the expert, to do it!) and may think it’s easy to add something in here or there. Chances are, though, your client won’t realise the intricate amount of work it involves for you.
As hard as it may seem, be realistic with your client and let them know how much extra work it will be, whether it will cost more and if it can be still be done by the deadline. If it can’t, let your client know so that they’ll be prepared and will have some understanding of that. If you say yes to a client’s extra demands, you’ll put yourself under a whole lot of pressure and if you don’t make the deadline, you’ll feel disappointed that you didn’t and the client may feel let down. The answer? Be real with your client from the get-go.
By following these tips, you’ll feel much more organised and ready to take on your web design and development projects. Check out Monday.com’s awesome range of benefits to help you organise your workload like a tiger!