Finding the right match between a web design agency and clients
9th August 2016

HandshakeFrom time to time, during the RFQ period, we bow out of the bidding due to differences in thought process and requirements. Over the years we have learnt to recognise the signs that indicatethat we are not a good match to the client. We call these signs 'Red Flags'. Too many 'Red Flags' and we bow out of the race for the project and let an agency more suited take it.

Some of the common 'Red Flags' we see include:

Client insists on a certain type of CMS system or programming framework.

We have our own custom CMS system that we use with our clients. Its simple, fast and reliable and provides us with the flexibility to control and customize our client websites. Since our USP is customization, its better for us to use our own CMS. We also don't like relying too much on third party plugins.

Clients supplies the design and insists on following it without discussion

Sometimes clients are DIY designers. Although they do not have any training, they insist on providing the design. This has two issues, we become glorified DTP operators and if the design is not created keeping in my good web design principles there can be a lot of trouble coding it later. Normally we take the client's inputs at every stage of the project especially the design phase. But we draw the line when the client starts supplying their own designs.

Client wants to control the entire process

Successful business people, many times, are control freaks. They are habituated to micro manage every aspect of their business. Now, its not a problem for us if they do it in their own business, but it becomes a problem if they extend it to our processes. Excessive control stifles creativity, leads to one sided decision making and leaves our team unhappy with the whole project. The work is nowhere close to our best in such cases.

Client insists on doing part of the work or giving part of the work to another agency

This is a deal breaker from the very start for us. Either we take the entire project or we don't take it at all. Coordination with other agencies leads to all kinds of confusion, misunderstandings and creates a mess. Each agency has a different style of working and speed. Mixing and matching only leads to acrimony and a game of Chinese whispers. This becomes even worse if the partners have a hidden agenda or an axe to grind. Its better to take a job clean rather than to get into bad situation.

Client brings in outside 'consultants'.

Unfortunately there are a lot of 'consultants' out there who talk very well but end up as a hindrance to a project. The client gets caught up in their rosy ideas but the web design firm has to bear the brunt. These consultants can also take a simple requirement and twist it into something else for their personal gain.At the end of the day instead of adding value they cause confusion and complexity. We have learnt the hard way to avoid projects where 'consultants' are involved. Of course there are exceptions to the rule and we have worked with some good ones, but they are very rare.

It takes a lot of knocks and experiences to understand what works and what does not. We have learnt the hard waythat it is better to not get involved and forego short term gain in order to save time, money and effort later. Sometimes simply saying, 'No, thank you.' is the best option.


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