Self-Inflicted Undue Pressure

I’ve been speaking to several colleagues lately within the web design community, and I’ve come to a harsh realization. I think that as a whole, our industry creates it’s own self-inflicted pressure with deadlines and customer relations.

Granted, some customers can come into the relationship wanting the impossible, but often, with a little enlightenment, customers can grasp how Rome cannot be built within a week. But I feel often, instead of investing in this conversation, we instead push ourselves to build things quicker, faster, and cheaper.

Sometimes we can just have a simple conversation with our clients, and often they’ll be totally accepting of our need for more time to create the desired product. Many times when I talk to a client, they themselves are not prepared for the product to be finished, they don’t have the content ready yet, they still need to gather all their product photos, etc.

Why do we tend to forgo these honest conversations that can strengthen our client relations and really give us a better working relationship in the long run? Is it our need for deadlines? Perhaps our procrastinative nature drives us to seek this adrenaline rush that is the last-minute push? Maybe a way to curb our creative natures that drive us to constantly expand the scope of possibilities for the project?

This issue has always frustrated me, why push ourselves to slam something out when there’s always more time to work? Sure, things have to get done, but does the quality of work have to suffer? We quit trying to achieve the best possible, and start undercutting to hit some date that really isn’t anything more than a spec of time in the span of the universe.

So I thought I’d toss it out there and see what you guys thought, why do we do this to ourselves?

1 Comment to “Self-Inflicted Undue Pressure”

  • Not to sound snarky, but it sounds like you and your colleagues just need to be honest with your clients. I’ve almost never had an instance where I horribly underestimated the time to complete a project. I’m very up-front about how long it will take, and include the amount of time I will lose on a project to other projects (read as: I pad it a bit :).

    Also, if my timeline starts slipping because of changes, the timeline will be immediately revised to account for changes, whether they entail more or less work. Keeping everything on the table from the start seems to help everyone involved.

    When I need to wait on a client before I begin work, I’ll tell them, “depending on the amount of ___ you need, it will take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.” If they can be specific about exactly how much work there will be, then I can say, “from the time you hand me all your assets, I expect it to take ___.”

    All that being said, I still do underestimate sometimes, and that’s usually fine too. In that case, I can immediately contact the client and inform them, and they are generally accepting. Sometimes they’re not, but hey…the nature of the proverbial beast.

    Insert further rambling response here.

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This little blog happens to be the personal ramblings of one April Holle - I'm female, outspoken, webbie, a community evangelist, and Principal of Made Better Studio. Check out the about section for more info.

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