Web development is one of the most frustrating aspects of digital marketing. While it may be lucrative and often satisfying, it’s also an area where agencies encounter headaches.
But what if these problems could be avoided?
The truth is, many of these frustrating issues are self-inflicted by marketing agencies. In fact, there is often a simple fix for these problems which take little more than common sense to deploy.
Let’s look at five problems facing web development agencies – and how to fix them:
It almost seems as though most customers want to know the cost before they even outline what needs to be done. Cost is an important factor but often a distraction from addressing the requirements.
What’s the cost? Marketing agencies are still faced with this question and providing a quote is obviously needed to strike a deal. For this reason, an agency may estimate the cost of web development only to realize down the road that they underestimated the needs of the project.
On the other hand, some development projects go ahead without establishing an actual budget. Web developers proceed with the work without really knowing how the customer might feel about the impending cost. Neither of these options is what the customer wants to hear, and both are likely to cause even more problems.
How to Fix this Budget Problem
Establish a fixed budget and cost for web development. What’s more, it’s beneficial to overestimate these costs and allow for as any unexpected costs as possible. Like any other marketing service, web development can go over time on occasion, and time is money for every agency. For this reason, it’s also best to have a conversation with the client and discuss what might happen if costs exceed the budget.
2. Client Adds Tasks to the Initial Scope of Work
It often happens that a client will tack on extra requests during the engagement which were never identified or discussed as part of the web development scope of work. While some of these requests can be minor, they can also be time-consuming tasks which can cause delays leading to “scope creep.” Scope creep is the uncontrolled growth in a project’s scope after the work begins, and this occurs when the scope of a development project is not properly defined, documented, or controlled.
When you consider this loss of time, these extra tasks or requirements can have a severe impact on the budget for web development. Now, whether the agency agrees to the work or not, these changes cause problems. After all, the time spent on these tasks is usually time that was supposed to be spent on other areas of the project.
How to Fix this Scope Problem
It’s essential to establish clear requirements at the beginning of every web development project. What’s more, there should be a contract written which specifies precisely what the project will entail. Agencies can declare that any work not specified in the initial outline will have to wait until the project is completed, and with additional charges of course.
Also, consider a solid project management platform. In the virtual sea of software, it’s difficult to find the right fit for an agency. You’ll wade through scores of “all-in-one” options and simple, “easy-to-use” features before you learn that hyphenated descriptors don’t make a platform; rather it’s the actionable tools that creatives will employ every day. How will you know if you’ve found the right software? Avoid the worst project management platforms for agencies and consider a few popular alternatives.
3. Client Requests Major Changes Too Late in the Process
For many project teams, feedback can come far too late in the process and sometimes at completion. This can be devastating news for the web developer and a situation which is likely to incur cost implications.
But why does this feedback come as such a surprise? Well, expectations are everything when it comes to web development, and without showing the actual progress it’s often difficult to know precisely what the client wants. For this reason, the web developer may proceed with a very different concept to what the customer had in mind.
How to Fix this Feedback Problem
Instead of delivering a finished product, setting up a regular review and approval process can ensure that the web development project is moving in the right direction. More specifically, this feedback will usually come early enough that changes can be made without any serious consequences.
For the agency, this is a time in which actions should be taken to address client feedback. It’s also a good idea to record and log every change or modification request. Continuous feedback means that the agency is working in line with expectations.
4. Freelancers Delay or Complicate the Process
Working with freelance developers is a fantastic way to keep costs down and find excellent services at an affordable rate. However, this outside help can also bring uncertainty to any web development project in the sense that you’re not 100% sure the freelancer will produce the goods at the time you need them.
At the same time, working with freelancers can also complicate the development process. Whatever work they produce often needs to be edited or changed in some way, and on occasion, this work may not be right for the project. This mix-up is likely to cause delays as someone internal will need to carry out the modified work.
How to Fix this Freelance Problem
Not every freelancer is the same, but there are benefits of keeping development work in-house. Of course, this usually comes at a premium in terms of price but having every aspect of web development in one place ensures the process is streamlined and less likely to be delayed.
5. Procrastination and the Launch Date Becomes Stressful
Procrastination is real. Obsessing over design is something which happens all too often in web development. In other words, we want every element of a website to be perfect, but at the same time, there’s only so much time to go back and forth with ideas. While some changes may be small, they consume time.
On the other hand, too many agencies wait far too long to launch the website. A launch date can hang over the development project like a dark cloud, and this can become a stressful ordeal.
How to Fix this Procrastination Problem
Launch the website as soon as possible and avoid waiting for the launch date. Despite what you may think, you may never be finished or satisfied with changes. More importantly, even when the site is live, you can still make changes, apply fixes, simplify steps, and streamline the navigation system. What’s more, you won’t be obsessing over the launch date.
Ready to Face Your Web Development Problems?
While discussions about budget and requirements may be uncomfortable, it’s essential to take this time to set realistic expectations. Stress is often self-inflicted by agencies and the result of poor communication or ineffective planning. The truth is, problems are frequent in web development, and change is inevitable. Common sense is usually enough for any agency to avoid even the most significant problems.