Scrutinise client briefs as much as service provider credentials
To be a trusted service provider we must really prove ourselves, including the aptitude test that covers everything from mathematics to pragmatism. I think it's good, however...
Clients can write useless briefs that give no helpful information. (eg: "I need someone to redesign my website, only experts considered") Worse still it comes with a fixed price - but there are so many variables that would affect the price.
The clarification board doesn't work in my experience; The questions have already been asked several times and not answered, there is too much temptation to put a huge number of questions in to the clarification area (as you would with an initial meeting) but that is overwhelming for the client and reveals to competitors how you go about your project planning (the one thing that would give you success over them yet are forced to reveal).
This forces us to actually bid on the project and ask questions there while risking our credits.
The website is therefore service-seeker led rather than service-provider led, on a way that is unbalanced.
As much as a service provider is forced to prove themselves, I think clients should be 'encouraged' (not forced) to fill out a basic brief template.
This would probably be easiest if there were compulsory data entry fields for them to fill in (which could have an option of 'unknown' if they really don't know).
Even simple questions such as 'current website link' (asked and unanswered on almost all web-design clarification boards) - Just to give the service provider 'something' to go off when making a proposal (which costs us to do, so we deserve support in receiving proper briefs).
I believe this is beneficial for both parties, as it saves both sides wasting time and gives both sides useful answers to their queries.
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