Define What "Done" Looks Like Before Work Begins
It is CRUCIAL that you define what “Done” looks like in a detailed Project Outline before work begins! If you aren’t already doing this, we’ll explain why you should absolutely start. Send us an email, if you’d like to see an example of one: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why A Signed Agreement Matters
1. It Calms Everyone’s Nerves
It will help eliminate some of the mystery and anxiety about what lies ahead in the project, especially for the client who’s never worked with a designer / developer before.
It can give the client a better understanding of what goes into the creative process and building out the thing that they need. It can potentially help them appreciate the effort or complexity of the work.
2. It Guides The Work In The Right Direction
It gives the designer / developer a clear “to-do list” that they must follow to meet the client’s needs.
The client needs to feel like their money was well spent in order to be satisfied, and showing a completed checklist at the end is the way to get there.
3. It Prevents Scope-Creep (Additional Requests)
It can protect the designer / developer from doing tasks that were not featured in the agreement (especially when dealing with pushy clients who try to slip in extra work for free).
It will be clear to both parties when a request must result in an additional fee and a separate Outline, which should also be signed.
4. Everyone Can Leave Happy
Both parties know when “Done” has been reached and can feel really good about it.
Even if there is a disagreement about taste and how the final product should be, an agreement often eases minds because it can show that what was outlined was indeed met. It can reveal that preferences should have been made clearer at the beginning, which can be resolved in a new Project Outline for second round of work.
Designers + Developers — If you aren’t already, create detailed Outlines for every single project you work on. It does not need to be lengthy or overly-complicated, but it should cover everything that will be worked on and mention any notes / requests made by the client. Break really big tasks down into as many small steps as you can. Both of you should sign the document after the client reviews it. This can be done with services like DocuSign.
Business Owners (Those seeking designers / developers) — If you’re beginning to work with someone who does not provide an Outline before projects begin, you can request that one be made or you can write one yourself. Both of you should review, refine, and sign the document. This can be done with services like DocuSign.
Go forth and protect your time, your money, and your sanity!