[thelist] Your opinion: managing clients who miss deadlines

Viggie viggie at viggie.com
Fri Sep 9 02:21:43 CDT 2011

Francis Marion's question struck a familiar peeve among all developers.
To summarize, he is looking for how best to deal with the situation
without affecting other clients.  As he clearly pointed out - providing
the materials 3 days late doesn't mean the project deadline will be
pushed by 3 days, as those dates were already scheduled for some other
client.  This is the problem he wanted to discuss.

It is easier to juggle as long as it is a small team.  If you have
several managers in the company, it would be difficult to differentiate
between clients who are habitually late & a client who deliver usually
on time, but lapse once in a while.

Surely you will have some internal mechanism to keep a roster of all
clients isn't it?  If there is a purely confidential internal mode of
ranking clients (Clients shouldn't get to know about this) and add
weightage (some number that will be added to normal work hours or normal
work days count for this specific client), it will help to some extent.

That said, it always need to be fine tuned & keep a tab on the
situation.  This is where management skills are brought out to the fore.
It can't be fully reduced into rules & automation.

Finally, if it is too difficult most of the time, it's time to move up
the value chain & provide more specialized services to bigger clients.
Then either you are sufficiently compensated in money for client's
lapses or they will need it critically and the question of delay from
client side never arise.

Just my 2 cents.


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