Scheduling your project at the very beginning helps to create clear expectations for your client. But how can you do that? More importantly, how can you make sure it is a schedule that is reasonable? In this video from Xojo Developer Conference 2018, I explain the best methods for scheduling your project fully.
Please find a full video transcript of Schedule the Project below:
Susan: Then the next thing is to schedule the project, of course. So you have your steps. Let’s bring in the actual schedule, and that’s the whole project, not just your next two steps. Schedule the whole project. You know the date or the timeframe that you’ve told the client that you’re going to deliver it in, so start backing it out. Sometimes if you do that, you will find that maybe you should have started last week, so that’s a good heads up that you need to pick up the pace, or even perhaps be able to have that initial conversation with the client and say, “Listen, we’re looking at the timeline, and can we do it a week later?” You know? Start at the beginning knowing what that is, and that’s going to get you more in sync with your client.
Also, you can include your bug and testing time in your project. If you’ve included that in your proposal of how long you’re going to allow bugs to last, and I do encourage that, you can then schedule that. So if you’ve said, “Hey, Client, we’re going to deliver you something to test. You’ll have 30 days to test it. We’ll fix any bug you find in 30 days for free,” you’re encouraging them to do the testing, which we all know is a challenge, and you’re giving them a reward if they get your feedback during that time. After the 30 days, your project is over. You can enter into a support agreement with them and then you can figure out how they might pay for new bugs that they find.
We all know custom software has bugs, so them knowing that up front is not a bad thing, and if you set that expectation, you can make sure that then you know how to schedule your project through to the end. There are tons of ways to schedule. There’s the waterfall. That’s everything to the end. There’s phased where you’re doing one module and then the next module at different times. And of course, there’s the Agile method that you’re constantly developing and rolling things over. All of those things can be scheduled, though, based on the expectations you set with your client in the proposal.
Part of the problem, of course, is after you’ve scheduled it, how do you make sure you do it? I’m a firm believer in calendar block, so if in your mind you’ve said, “Developing this invoice” we talked about will take 16 hours, when are you going to do it? Block it out on your calendar whether it’s four four hour blocks or two eight hour blocks. However you’re going to do it, block it out. That also makes sure that you are allowing yourself time to focus on your development instead of letting all of the other business interruptions take over that time, and then honor your commitment to your meeting to yourself.
The other thing that that does, when you calendar it, you’ll start to be able to tell when you can start your next project when your calendar blocks run out. You know, can you squeeze something else in? Once you do this, make sure that you’re allowing enough time for support on your other projects. Because those come in, so don’t fill your whole day.