Yup, I’ve failed. I mean totally let down a client by delivering 80% of a solution, then feeling a bit bored and not focusing on the last 20% like I should have.

I’ve pushed bugs that brought down client servers, just before I went for a run or left for the day.

I’ve told clients I could do something when I wasn’t convinced I could actually do it.

Those are all mistakes I’ve made, and I may make them again. I’ll certainly push a bug in code again. I mean, despite my dashing good looks, I’m not perfect.

The Setup

During our initial project call, I tell clients I’ve done things like that. They should know that it’s likely a bug will happen.

When they ask me a question I don’t know the answer to, I let them know I don’t know the answer. I’m very careful with my ‘yes’ unless I’m actually sure that what they want done can be done.

For me, that means I know I’ve done something almost exactly like it before. If I’m just thinking about the code involved but haven’t written it yet, I’ll say:

I don’t see a reason currently that it wouldn’t work.

That’s all I know for sure. Based on my current thoughts it looks feasible.

When you’re talking to prospects be very careful about the promises you make. If you say maybe and the ending answer is ‘no’ then you’ve set them up to possibly be disappointed, and/or angry with you.

Setting up proper expectations puts you both in a better position to deal with any issues that come up and still maintain a good client/provider relationship.

photo credit: wiredforsound23 cc

2 responses to “Set Clients up for Failure”

  1. Ali Avatar

    Your advice came a little bit late. Because right now i am going through the similar situation, where i thought i can manage now project is late because of my mistake. Thanks for your advice

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar
      Curtis McHale

      Happens to everyone sometimes not that it helps to know it