Some days, when the projects are tough and the deadlines are looming, I fantasize about the elusive perfect client: smart yet sensitive, makes me laugh, understanding, passionate, hardworking.
One day, I realized that the form of my professional fantasies closely resembled something a little closer to home—dating profiles.
I'm a millennial who’s never been married, so I've been on countless first dates made possible by the wonders of the web. In honor of all things close to my project manager’s heart, I decided to create a very special online dating profile.
Of course, as all of us online daters know, a good profile gives more details about you than it does about who you’re looking for. So what do I want in a professional relationship? Well, I’ll tell you.
I want to work with clients who are relentlessly committed to their projects as an important part of their business. While most clients we work with are also busy simply running their company, it’s important for clients to understand that without their participation, the project simply cannot succeed. We bring creative expertise to the table, but we need your unique insight about your business in order to fully use our skills and talents.
Commitment means a vested, deep-rooted interest in seeing a project succeed—with actions that reflect that interest. Practically speaking, commitment means time—time spent in design meetings, in reviewing items and providing thoughtful, prompt feedback, in meeting your deadlines and holding us to ours. These things matter because without that participation, projects end up slowing or even stopping, which isn’t good for anyone.
We hope that when you hire us, it means you trust that we do excellent work. Sometimes, however, that’s easier to feel at the beginning of a project and harder when it comes to significant decisions about your specific business choices. We want to work with clients who trust that when it comes to strategic design, content, and development work, we’re passionate professionals. We don’t present anything we don’t believe in (and we generally provide options), but more importantly, there’s always thought behind the work that we do. Sometimes we’ll ask you to trust us.
Striking the right level of communication can be a tricky thing—we want you to speak up with questions and opinions about our work on your project, but we also need dedicated time to simply make production progress. When in doubt, we tend to prefer over-communication with project managers. Our process does, however, provide specific channels for facilitating feedback that’s good for the work being done and the people doing that work.
We are, like everyone else, imperfect people, and while we always have the best of intentions, there will be unforeseen challenges in any project. Rising to the challenge requires a sense of understanding and patience from our clients. If we mess up, understand that it was unintentional and that we’ll make it right. If we need additional time on a specific aspect of your project, understand that we only ask for these extensions when we need more time to provide the best possible solution. If we have questions that seem elementary to you, understand that we simply want to be sure that we understand your business almost as well as you do.
I'm what I like to call a practical romantic, so I know the idea of perfection is entirely relative. I'm thankful for clients with the traits I long for and hopeful for the qualities I still seek (a combination of all these traits is understandably hard to find). At the end of the day, I want to do good work for every client; it's against my nature to do otherwise.