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In this video, from DevCon 2017, Susan, explains how Beyond the Chaos Project Management can help your FileMaker Projects. She talks about some of the processes for projects, as well as how clear communication can help your business.

Please find a full video transcript below: 

Don:  Hi, this is Don Clark with FM Database Consulting. I’m following the pro gurus with the DEV CON 2017, and I’m not on the exhibition floor for a change. I’m here with Susan Fennema, and she is with her company…

Susan:  Beyond the Chaos.

Don:  Beyond the Chaos. As project management, explaining project … In fact, I’m not going to say any more about it for a moment. I’m going to let Susan take over.

Susan:  I’m doing project management consulting for all of you FileMaker developers out there to help you put some process around your project management, so you’re going to be able to repeat those successes rather than having to reinvent the wheel every single time you do a project.

Don:  That’s critical. Pay attention, FileMaker developers, because she knows what she’s talking about. You’ve been in this file-making business for a long time. You were with Mighty Data for a long time.

Susan:  I was with Mighty Data for six years. Before that, I was the operations director for an ad agency for 10 years. I built their process in FileMaker with Molly Connolly as my developer.

Don:  Wow. I didn’t know that.

Susan:  Molly and I go way back.

Don:  She’s big in the business coaching and business organization-

Susan:  She is.

Don:   … and learning how to be a business person-

Susan:  Yes.

Don:  … if you’re going to be a FileMaker developer.

Goal of Project Management

Susan:  You get some of that with my consulting too. It just goes hand-in-hand. The whole goal of project management is really about communication, making sure that your client is happy, and making sure that you satisfy them in the end. You finish your project, it’s on time, and it’s on budget. Yes, it is possible.

Don:  It does happen.

Susan:  It does happen.

Don:  I had that happen once.

Susan:  It should happen more than that. It should happen every time. It should be the exception if it doesn’t happen.

Don:  Usually, the problem is the FileMaker developers, because they don’t know how to work properly. I’m not blaming my subcontractors in any way, shape, or form-

Susan:  No.

Don:  … they don’t have the structure. I’m supposed to provide that structure.

Susan:  Right.

Don:  It’s up to me. I work hard to try to make that happen, to give them the tools, to have the communication. Most of the time, we do hit it. Most of the time, we do hit the mark. That’s what it comes down to. It’s very … Well.


Susan:  We seem to have guests.

Don:  Hello. That’s my wife.

Videographer:  We are live.

Susan:  Can’t edit that out.

Don:  At any rate, it’s a very important part of the process, and I’m glad to hear you’re doing this. I did not know this.

Susan:  I launched my business about a year ago. I’ve worked with a couple of platinum partners, and some Claris Partners already. So far, getting good reviews.

Don:  Wonderful. That means you’re doing things right. Can you share with us just a few of the tips maybe, or something to that effect that you … Maybe just a little bit of the broad outlines of what it is you do so people-

Susan:  Oh yeah, sure.

Don:   … know specifically what it is you’re talking about.

Susan:  When you start talking about it, it just sounds like words going together, right?

Don:   Yeah, uh-huh.

Is it Done Done?

Susan:  I would come into your business, I would help you figure out step-by-step what happens with every project. I’m not talking about the development. I’m really not. I mean, you guys know how to develop. That part isn’t the hard part.

Don:  Right.

Susan:  The hard part is when do you buy your FileMaker licenses? When do the clients get them installed? When do you test it? How do you test it? Who’s involved in the testing? When is it scheduled to go live? Have you talked about the amount of time that you’re going to have to have down if you’re updating a system? All of that really should be in every single project, and covered so you don’t have to think about it, right? You’re not getting into a new project and then re-figuring that out each time.

Don:  Going, “Oh yeah, we have to do that.”

Susan:  Right. The end of your project could even be things like ask for a referral, ask for a testimonial for your website, make sure that you check back in with them in three months, that they’re using their solution, that they’re happy with it. If you’re working, especially if you’ve worked with subcontractors, as you have-

Don:  Yes, I do.

Susan:  … and you ask a developer, “Well, is it done?” They say it’s done. To Molly Connolly’s quote, “But is it done-done?” Right?

Don:  Or done, done, done. Three times.

Susan:  Done might mean well yeah, I wrote the script.


Don:  Did you test the script?

Susan:  I didn’t test it, I didn’t put it in the system. It’s not live. I didn’t show the client how to use it.

Don:  You didn’t make a video, or-

Susan:  None of that’s done.

Don:  It’s not done.

Susan:  Right.

Don:  It’s done when the customer’s accepted it, and it’s working and functioning well, and it doesn’t break.

Susan:  Right. You might even, to that point too, you might even have part of your process of getting a client to sign off early in the process. You might have discovery steps in there. There’s a lot of things that you do surrounding the scope of development that you do for every single project. If you can set that up as a repeating process, I like to do it in a template in Basecamp,, something like that, so you’re not having to also custom-develop your own project management tool.

Don:  Wonderful.

Susan:  Do the work for your clients, not yourself. You’ll never get it finished if you try to do it yourself anyway.

Don:  The cobbler’s son has no shoes.

Susan:  Absolutely. You never get done.

Don:  I don’t think anyone knows what a cobbler is anymore, for that matter.

Susan:  We would have to start it by saying …

Don:  One other piece of news is that Susan’s going to be doing some guest blogging, is that what I understand?

Susan:  I would love to do some guest blogging for you. I do on my own blog, but I would love to-

Don:  We can do some flip-flopping around…better authority on your website if you were posting someplace else. Never a bad thing. I look forward to it. I’ll make sure your password starts to work.


Susan:  Thank you. The other thing is if you’re here at Devcon I am on a panel at 3:45 tomorrow evening or afternoon. It’s pro tips for finishing projects. Jason Mundok, and Jason Hea, and Eric Lewis are going to be on that with me. It’ll be a great session.

Don:  You’ll be a four-personal panel, okay. We’ll look forward to that.

Don:  I haven’t looked at the schedule yet. I’m a little bit behind on that. It’s been great, Susan. Thank you very much for coming up and joining us. This is Don Clark with I was with Susan Fennema, and it’s-

Susan:  Beyond the Chaos.

Don:  Beyond the Chaos. That’s it for now. We’re checking out until the next interview.

Susan:  Thanks.

Don:  Thanks very much.

Susan: Bye.

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