An Event Apart Seattle

Awesomness!  So I am sitting in a huge conference room just off of the shoreline in downtown Seattle with a bunch of fellow geeks.  I feel at home with my star wars shirt and get pumped for the day of lectures.  I thought I would give a brief overview of what I hear as the people speaking here are industry leaders in their respective fields.

Jefferey Zeldman – Founder of Happy Cog

He talked about the mistakes he made and how he learned from them.   He gave a list of ten things he learned, they are as follows:

  1. Know Before You Go.
    Don’t get into a situation where the scope is not defined, or the client is not aware of real time constraints.  This is one of the most common problems in the web industry.
  2. Keep expectations on track and in sync.
    Maintain contact with your client or boss so that there aren’t any “surprises.”  Keep them up to date to protect yourself and the client.
  3. Constantly course correct.
    Don’t get stuck in your own rut.  This is in reference to internal workings, don’t be afraid to try new things on a project, but be ready if things don’t go as planned.
  4. Tell the TRUTH.
    This seems obvious, but it can be a problem when something goes wrong.  It’s human nature to avoid conflict, but lying and deception will never cut it in the long run.
  5. Phrase it from the client’s / boss’s Point of View.
    There are many ways to say “no” without saying it.  Boss’s and Client’s never want to hear “Nope, can’t do it.”  If you aren’t going to make a deadline then be honest about it and have a plan that you have already developed.
  6. Report bad news before the client/boss notices it.
    This can go along with telling the truth as it is never pleasant to tell your boss/client bad news.  Step up with a plan and be early.  The faster the better with bad news.  The boss/client might have a solution you didn’t think of if you come early.
  7. Have a recovery plan.
    Bad things happen no matter how many protections you have in place.  If you plan for emergencies you will always be ready to take anything on.  This seems like common sense, because it is!  Back up all your work and save often.
  8. Apologize – but never denigrate yourself or your team.
    Don’t throw yourself or team members under the bus.  If you made a mistake admit it, fix it and move on.  Imagine if someone threw you under the bus and then having to work with them in the same office for several months or years.  Just don’t do it.
  9. Have an exit strategy.
    Have legal clauses that allow you to “fire your client.”  This means that if things aren’t going well on either side you have a way to leave gracefully with a”it’s not you, it’s me” philosophy.  This is not giving up, this is if disputes can’t be settled.  Avoid court as much as possible.  It’s ugly and costly.
  10. Know when to quit.
    If it looks like you are walking into a trap, don’t do it!  This isn’t talking about leaving a job early or leaving work unfinished.  This is in reference to knowing when something is going to be detrimental to your success.
Comment are closed.