Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hello 2011 -- New Year, New Decade -- New Deal?

It's January 2, 2011, and that brings my mother to mind as today is her birthday.  My parents died in the early 2000s, but I was fortunate to have them around until their early 80s.  I still do something and want to share it with them, then remember they're not there to call.  So Happy Birthday Mom! 

I have no resolutions to share because I don't bother with those.  I do set goals for myself.  I review these throughout the year and don't have any attachment to a New Year's resolution list.  One goal I set for myself a few months ago was to change my business model around website design.  I'm pleased to say that I have two proposals out there that follow this new model; one which I wrote and submitted Friday. 

The need for this model was to make it easier to work with small organizations and businesses that don't have staff dedicated to these types of projects.  What I've found over the few years in these organizations is that decision-making is often sporadic and impulsive.  Rather than working closely with you to help create what they want, the decision-maker wants a quick meeting and for you to sort it out for them.  You spend time working through options and present them; only to wait and wait for a response.  Then they make another quick decision, often changing their original decisions.  Again, you wait and wait for a response.  The decision-maker sees something on the web and wants it, but has no clue as to how much they're changing the original design and your current execution.  It feels as if the project never ends.  What should have been a fairly quick project, for a set amount of money that the organization can pay, turns into never-ending small changes or even big changes that don't meet the criteria of the original project.

What I find particularly frustrating is that the original project would include features that staff and the decision-maker all agreed they wanted.  In the end, impulsive and sporadic decisions rid the project of most of these and the site becomes little more than an electronic brochure.  I hate to waste money, including my clients money.  I don't like stopping and starting these projects because it means using more time to go back in and review what has been done, how it's been done, what they asked for, what remains to be done, etc.  And when I review what they originally asked for against what they're now saying, they've actually reduced the functionality of their website. 

With the change in my business model, I'm really trying to change the executive model.  The problem with these projects is the executive in charge.  So that's where real change has to occur.  It means I probably have to spend a little more time with the executive during the process, pushing them a bit to either stick with decisions they've already made, or at least acknowledge that there's a cost associated with changing their minds partway through the project. 

It will be interesting to see if this better model works as well for my clients as it should for me.  Helping busy executives exercise a little discipline and consider the costs and consequences of sporadic and impulsive decision-making should be a good thing.  I hope they see it that way once we've gotten started!

Happy New Year -- I hope your year brings your goals and projects to fruition!

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