[thelist] Your opinion: managing clients who miss deadlines

Joel Canfield joel at findingwhy.com
Wed Sep 7 15:28:14 CDT 2011

On Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 3:21 PM, Francis Marion <francis.marion at sfroy.com>wrote:

> I'm soliciting ideas and opinions on how to deal with this kind of issue in
> a way that is respectful, flexible, but not a nuisance to us or our other
> clients, and that is similarly respectful to the client who is usually bang
> on, but has the rare stuff-happens lapse. In the future, we have the
> potential of adding some sort of clause to the contract, or at the very
> least some form of notice, but I'm not sure how to handle our long-time
> clients, or clients whose projects are already active.

Two thoughts:
1. loosen schedules. leave wiggle room in advance. yes, everyone wants
everything yesterday. then you overpromise, get hosed by someone else's
mistake, and look bad anyway. promise what's reasonable *taking those things
into account* and then always always deliver. my dad's version was, always
leave early enough that you'll have time to fix a flat tire, and you'll
probably never be late.

2. make goal dates based on a timeline, not an actual date. "you deliver X,
and 4 days later, we'll have Y done." requires tracking the timeline, but
puts the onus where it belongs: on whoever has a deliverable due.

3. if these instances are rare, the right answers is communicate clearly,
and suck it up. if they're common, the right answer is vet your clientele
better so you're not working with folks who don't deliver.

it's a big broad vague question, and the answer is NOT codifying and rule
making. it's better planning on YOUR side ('cause you can't control the
other guy) and overt obvious clear communication every step of the way.


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