The Connamara Client Engagement Philosophy

Since starting Connamara some 19 years ago, I’ve developed a philosophy for vetting, estimating, and managing project opportunities and clients. Below is a list of where my thinking is today. 

Vetting the Opportunity

Only accept projects where we believe we can succeed in delivering value to the client
Only accept project where both we and the client have a clear understanding of what defines success
Only accept projects where there is clear understanding and agreement of the features of the software to be delivered
Identify and explain project risks to the client before accepting a project
Decline projects when the client can’t grasp the concept of iterative releases (no big bangs)
Decline projects if the client cannot describe the business value of the project
Decline projects if the client cannot identify the target market
Decline projects when the client holds unrealistic expectations of the time and effort to create software or fails to see the complexity of the project
Decline projects when clients cannot agree amongst themselves as to functionality of the software

Estimating the Project

Always give honest, straightforward estimates based on experience
Never, ever “low ball” an estimate just to close the deal
Because we give honest estimates, time or cost reductions can only be accompanied by a reduction in the functionality to be delivered

Client Relations

Always, treat clients as equal team members and with respect
Always remember, we are here because of our clients
One unhappy client negates one hundred satisfied clients
Never assume you know more about the software being built than the client

Project Management

Measure and calculate progress and delivery dates as the project progresses
Be proactive in reporting the project status to the client. The client should never need to ask us for a status update
Always, always know the status of a project just in case the client asks
Strive to demonstrate progress rather than report progress
Notify the client at the first sign of schedule or cost issues
Balance client requested changes in scope with the fairness to Connamara and client goodwill
Always look to deliver the most value as soon as possible. Leave the “nice to have” for later

Jim Downs


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