One of the most common complaints among customers is that freelance professionals “are unreliable,” because “almost never finish their work within committed.”
Question of trust
This is an essential issue, because the foundation of our business rests on trust that inspire our customers. If we lose that trust, we lost much of our ability to win new projects.
So it is so important to keep our commitments and complete the tasks within the agreed timeframe.
The question is: how? There are no magic bullets, but we can certainly find some good reference practices.
Inspired by an article FreelanceFolder we collected these 4 great tips to help you deliver your work on time:
1. ESTIMATE. Estimated delivery time taking into account the other projects
A typical mistake is to set a deadline by calculating only those hours that we will need to complete that particular project, regardless of the other remaining works. That is, we estimate as if we spend all our time to this project, which is rarely the case. The normal is that we are obliged to this request with other simultaneous tasks, projects and commitments. Not to mention the unexpected …
We have all these variables into account in our calculations ago.
If we estimate that the project will take us 40 hours of work, we can not assure the customer that we will deliver within a week before analyzing what other projects and commitments we have outstanding. We may have to delay the delivery time a few days. And it is better to be clear from the beginning, so that the client does not feel cheated.
2. COMMUNICATION WITH THE CUSTOMER. Manage expectations wisely
A key part of our communication with the client is to manage expectations. It is true that when asked “when”, customers tend to say that they need everything “yesterday.” But we know that not always the case. This is a typical formula to prevent put the project at the end of the queue of pending jobs, and to force us to maintain a productive tension. We must learn to measure and manage the real urgency.
Do not fall into your own trap
Many times the client does not require a specific date, or need urgent delivery too. And we are the ones that we get into the mess by proposing a date really tight, which means enough risk and most likely are not going to comply.
Well, you have to escape this trap that sometimes we lie to ourselves without realizing it. It’s much better to set a date less risky and arrive in time to enter a tight deadline and deliver late.
3. Dimensioning and planning. Party big projects into smaller pieces, and sets milestones for delivery
We have said many times: when the tasks, challenges and problems are too large, we do not know how to address them. This situation often leads to a certain paralysis, we do not know where to start, and some discouragement, we feel that we have not advanced anything.
The solution is usually easier than it sounds: just as large tasks into smaller tasks.
The same applies to deliveries. If we face a challenging project, large, not appropriate to set a single deadline. This is so for several reasons:
“A remote delivery in time produce a dangerous relaxation: we feel that much more time to finish things.
“A single delivery time is usually too risky: delays become final (there is no next release to correct the current delay) and we have no feedback from the client until everything is closed.
It is often more useful to define certain milestones throughout the project. Thus we are able to provide smaller units of our work in an orderly manner. Each delivery becomes a milestone with its corresponding term. This allows us to move forward without relaxation. The client verifies that we are working as planned and we can collect their views to ascertain the final result.