When asking other website developers what their biggest bugbear is when working with clients, the answer is always the same. This answer is also a direct reflection of our own experience and it is that of client consistency.
Creating a website from scratch is one of those undertakings that utilises both hemispheres of the brain.
The left side of the brain, being more analytical, is focused on the detail – working through the website’s underlying structure, its code, servers, database tables and its general technicalities. Whereas the right side, being more creative, concerns itself with the design aspect – how does it look? What does it feel like? The creative side is also used to work out technical issues too, by figuring out solutions of how the many moving parts work together seamlessly.
Taking a project on from scratch involves a particular kind of investment from the developer and once the ball starts rolling the brain goes into overdrive figuring out how to create its functionalities in the most simplified way and also having it appear great to the eye.
Like any creative project, once these creative juices start to flow and the developer becomes ‘in the zone’ it is imperative to stay there. As new ideas come in, or a new piece of information is presented by the client, they are effortlessly worked into the greater picture, and the project benefits overall. Think of a painter or a sculptor. Although a particular project may take many weeks or months to complete, the artist’s investment is carried throughout this period because he would be working, or thinking, about it regularly.
Would the sculptor be able to create a masterpiece if he is taken away from his zone, which meant his creativity for his project wore off? If his project was a series of stop/starts it would be very unlikely that he could regain that creativity whenever he re-started, or at least, would take some time for it to return.
This is the same issue when clients suddenly disappear, only to resurface some time later, in the worst cases, months later. Maybe they have been asked for some content, some images maybe, or some copy and have taken far too long to supply what is required. By this time the developer has lost traction in the project, the zone is no longer there and his unconscious investment has waned.
The client, understandably, expects the developer to simply resume the project where they had left it some time before and the developer does so. What the client may not understand, however, is that the energy for the project may no longer be there for the developer and although he may produce a fully functioning end product, it would be nothing like he would have produced had he been able to stay in the creative flow of the project. Once the creative flow is lost on a project, it is extremely hard to get back.
Another effect of a stalled project is that the developer has most likely started something new. With often no word from the original client or any idea how long it will be before they continue again, often, the developer has little choice but to begin awaiting projects. Many developers work within a full calander. If the original client has overshot their time allocation, the developer would most likely now be simply ‘fitting in’ their work around their new projects, which isn’t good for anyone.