I'm just finishing up on another relatively long-term project, and for the first time in a long time I'm really sad that it's over.
The staff at PSC CUNY, the City University of New York teacher's union, has been amazing to work with; and I've been thinking about the things that made this project so much less grief-ridden than others.
So, for those of you working on projects from the client end, here's some things you can keep in mind if you want to be loved by your technology development crew.
5: be demanding, but flexible. Know when to push for exactly what you want and when to accept "no" from the developers. You are likely to get more in the end if you know where to draw that line.
4: use the tools for communication and coordination that your developers want you to use. It's easy to default to phone calls or email to give feedback and make requests, but in the long run it's better to use a tool that provides for tracking of these things and that the techies are going to be looking at frequently. For us, this tool is mantis. Being able to keep track of what needs to be done, what questions there are, what we've asked and what responses we've been given allows us to give more in the end. Things don't get lost; everyone knows what the decisions and agreements were; time is not wasted on searching for old emails or figuring out what to do next.
3: respect the skills and experience of your techies. Remember, you know what your organization does better than anyone, you know what you need: but you don't know technology -- that's why you hired consultants and developers. Help them see how to make what they know work to facilitate what you do.
2: Look for creative solutions to problems. When your techies say "we can't do that" don't assume they are being lazy. Collaborate and brainstorm, don't complain and demand the impossible. You'll get what you need and more if you don't force time to be spent pushing digital rocks up a hill.
1: Accept that no technology project is ever without bugs, glitches or problems. Look at technology projects as a never ending process. Get what you need in place and build with future additions in mind. Successful technology projects are not completed commodities, they are ongoing collaborations.
And now for today's photos:
sad little umbrella
beware the trees!