I’ve advocated a few times for at least 2 emails per week updating clients. In fact just this week I said that not doing it is a way to set yourself up for bad client work.

Now I’ve had some push back on that concept. This is totally my fault and I’ll clear it up.

2 emails are not

These 2 emails (more even) are not full project run downs. You should not be spending 2 hours in a meeting twice a week with a client. I think that doing that is a sure fire way to kill a project.

You won’t get anything done and you’re going to be frustrated with all the wasted time and silly overhead.

So what are the emails

An example from me last week may be the best example.

Hey $clientname, hope things are going well.

I made decent headway on the WordPress theme over the last 2 days. I’ve started on the eCommerce portion. Certainly not quite ready to show it off but we are on track to show it off next week as expected.

Have a great day.

How about an example from a few weeks ago.

Hey $clientname, I hope you had a great long weekend.

I told you that I was in discussions with the Gravity Forms support guys about our notes modifications and the result is that we have a bit of a snag. You wanted to insert text in the notes fields all the time (which is possible) but we have to change the wording. We either need the text we grab off the screen at the beginning or end. Really doesn’t matter which.

That does mean we are back about 2 days. Gravity Forms support is fast, but I just didn’t anticipate this issue.

Let me know if you have any other concerns.

Nope the emails aren’t long rundowns of every single line of code that has been written. They are short and to the point. In one case we’re on track. In another we have an issue to deal with.

In both cases the client is confident that I’m on the job and knows what’s going on.

Don’t go in to ‘mole mode’

Way to many developers go in to mole mode. They get the project and go write all the code. The client doesn’t hear anything for a week or two and gets worried about the project.

Then you get an anxious email from the client but of course you knew things were moving forward. Why would the client be anxious?

They are understandably anxious because you didn’t communicate.

So send those 2 emails per week. They are going to take seconds out of your day. Those lost seconds are going to come back to you in clients that are extatic about your service.

photo credit: Mark Fischer via photopin cc

4 responses to “I mean this when I say communicate clearly twice a week”

  1. Matt Avatar

    MoleMode! haha nice

    Yea this makes a lot more sense. On larger projects (and let’s be honest, stuff I know I’m making margin on) we’ll do weekly standup calls to run through the stuff we’ve accomplished.

    I like the touch and go emails and tried them on two projects we’re working on since you posted the other day.

    First one went great. Client said, thanks for updating me and that was it.

    Second client, went into a stream of questions about what the update meant, are we still on track what are the next steps and (the killer) when is the next update coming.

    In the second case, I know what this guy is like — not technical and very anxious to get the project going. Matter of fact, I have a private case study about him I’m putting together to evaluate some of the pitfalls I’ve had.

    Anywho, great stuff!

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar
      Curtis McHale

      I can see a client that’s not expecting the quick touch emails jumping in that way. I prep clients for the emails so they know that we’ll do the proper update and when. That means they can just write some of the ‘bigger’ questions down and wait for the next meeting.

  2. John Parris Avatar
    John Parris

    Thanks again for this “mole mode” reminder. I’ve got a project coming up where I need to keep this in mind. Two emails per week like this is good, and I’m thinking it’ll probably help keep clients from asking for useless meetings – as they can be inclined to do. Clear, quick communication twice per week can be a good thing. Especially if you prep them up front about what to expect.

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar
      Curtis McHale

      The communication doesn’t have to be email really. I’m on a project next week and the people I report directly to are developers. My git commits will serve as communication about what’s going on with the project.