Digital Project Management Summit Notes

Sam Barnes


Vice Versa Client Management


  1. Being a client is really hard – (Brett’s no one has training to be  a client)
    • Hiring a digital agency – first vice versa moment; time consuming, tiring and repetitive
      • Many clients don’t have dedicated time for projects (took Sam about 50 emails over 2-3 days)
      • Show empathy towards the client from beginning to end
  2. Confession 2
  3. Confession 3
  4. Sam didn’t read every page of the proposal
  5. Sam skipped to the cost page
  6. Nightmare client when it came to design
  7. Didn’t care about iteration limits

What would have helped:

  • Put cost at beginning – here’s how much we want to charge you and why we’re worth it
    • Always find out a client’s budget first
  • Project timeline
    • Overselling is a false economy
    • What to do – Get involved in pre-sales
  • Client meetings
    • Audio record client meetings
    • No bullshit meeting talk – see Rachel’s scripts
      • Make directness a differntiator – managing clients is easier when you can be direct
    • Educate your clients
      • Explain digital PM and agencies in detail
      • Present the PM process – the entire lifecycle, common project issues
      • Give a takeaway – a brief document including the above
      • Explain the agency process
        • Tell client when you have planning
  • Be adaptable
  • Make the client’s company forget that you are a third party
  • If a client is failing you’re failing – manage your client like you manage your team
    • Treat the client like part of your team, but never at the expense of your actual team
  • Consider what a client’s day is like
    • Your no’s or requests for more money likely have to be taken back to some other decision maker
  • Help the client out
  • Make the client look good
    • By proxy the project has gone well
    • The client will want to make you look good
  • Manage expectations
    • Not just for clients, also boss, internal stakeholders and project team
    • How? – Be honest
    • Weekly reports
      • What was done this week, what will be done next week, blockers/issues
      • Revised timeline
      • Revised budget
  • Dealing with megabeasts – Really bad clients
    • Always do the right thing
      • Remain the professional one
      • Expose the problem in the right way
  • Get client feedback

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