Making the implicit explicit
We believe that a project’s success is equally dependent on the deliverables completed and the working relationship between us and our clients. Experience shows us that most projects fail or flounder when the implicit isn’t made explicit.
We also believe in a more holistic approach to work. Our values of empathy, respect, and trust are always integrated into working style. To that end, here are some cultural norms that we embody in every working agreement.
assume good intentions
Our work means a lot to us and your work means a lot to you, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it. We assume our clients are telling us the truth, believe them when they speak, and expect that they have insights that we don’t. It’s also assumed that they’re experts in their field. We expect our clients to do the same for us.
Because we’re all busy, we make sure to check in with our clients about our time and theirs. Sometimes that looks like us asking about “hard stops” for meeting times or setting time estimates to agenda items. It’s also why we ask our clients to let us know at least 24 hours in advance of a meeting time change.
keep meetings to a minimum
Getting work done requires a lot of head-down-and-focus time on our part…meaning: alone time. We also know that meetings are expensive for our clients. So how do we stay on the same page? We use collaborative tools and processes that let us track our progress outside the time/space of traditional meetings. When we do need to meet, we schedule a time at least 48 hours in advance and stay on-task with agendas and time mindfulness.
back and forth
In our working relationship, we’ll have times when we need your feedback. Providing us this feedback in a timely manner allows us to meet our deadlines and demonstrates to us that you’re committed to the work. On the flip side, not providing us feedback in good time creates a traffic jam for all of our other projects and clients. If you don’t think you will be able to meet these expectations, please let us know ahead of time so we can adjust our deadlines accordingly.
maintain professional boundaries
As it turns out, our clients are pretty great! We love to socialize and get to know them on a personal level. We’re all about happy hours and hikes instead of dumping catch-up and hang-out time into meetings. One-on-one time shouldn’t cost money. We also like to keep work inside standard US business hours (10:00-18:00 eastern time, Monday-Friday). If we get text messages [see documentation]—or emails after hours—it’s 99% likely we won’t respond. But we’ll certainly get back to you the next time we’re in the office.
Sharing knowledge is important. And being able to capture and access those great ideas at any time is equally important. We ask our clients to provide feedback and requests in email (or sometimes Slack or Trello) so that we can come back to them whenever we need.
Project life cycle
We like to follow a rhythm with our projects. This keeps us, our collaborators, and our clients on the same page so work can go smoothly. It also helps everyone know what to expect. Check out this project life cycle flowchart to learn more about what it looks like to work with us.