Process is Bad

scope creep in digital projects

3 Minute Read...

Processes are bad.

Wait, what?

Hasn’t everybody been telling you just the opposite this whole time?

It’s always document a process for this, automate a process for that. And now I’m telling you it’s bad?

Hell yeah!

Maybe I should explain more….

We’ve all been in that situation where a client wants a quick mock-up of their site, a glimpse of their new logo, or a sneak peak at their analytics, even though you’re still in the early stages of creating everything.

Reluctantly you send over your work in progress so they can review it, and they hate it.

They want a million things changed, or added, or tweaked, or redesigned, or to perform better, or to be more functional, or the list goes on and on! How could you have so many errors! This wasn’t what they wanted at all!

(RELATED: This also leads to a sneaky problem called scope creep. Learn more about stopping scope creep and getting paid for all of the hard work you do.)

Now you’re in a bad spot because you were just trying to please them! So not only are they unhappy with you but you’re back to square one on the project. From that point forward its jumping through hoops and bending over backwards to please them. Sound familiar?

Well it’s time for a bad process to save you.

See, if you have a strict process in place at your agency, like all copy must be signed off on before design, or a payment must be made before you present a scope of work, then you can let the process be the bad guy.

It’s not you saying no to the client, it’s the processes fault. The process is “bad.”

This softens the blow when you tell a client no, which we both know is never a fun thing to do (even if it's ultimately in their best interest). Clients just don’t understand how it’s for the better and they don’t get why a process is important. They don’t understand that behind the scenes a process:

  • Increases efficiency

  • Improves quality of work

  • Ensures deliverables exceed expectations

  • Ensures deliverables are produced on time

  • Reduces costs

  • Eliminates unwanted surprises and stress

  • Safeguards both parties

  • And more!

They don’t understand any of that. All the client understands is that they don’t know what their website looks like and they want to see it... now! I mean, can you blame them? That is what they’re really here for.  

But often times people don’t understand why processes are important until they get to the end of them. Only then, do they see why it was all necessary. Like….

Often times people don’t understand why processes are important until they get to the end of them

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A contractor won’t let you do landscaping till they’re done driving dump trucks across the yard. At the time that can be frustrating. You want to see your houses curb appeal. You want the whole house to hurry up and be done already. But if you want the house done on time and on budget then you’ve got to follow the process.

If you did landscaping first and then installed a septic tank in your backyard, then you’d have to go and redo the lawn, replant the flower bed, and fix the fence. Suddenly, you’re over budget, past due, and mad with your contractor. That’s why a contractor won’t let you do it!

(RELATED: Learn more about project management and my 8 step process.)

Project Management Process

So it’s your agency’s job to lay down the law, just like a contractor, and stick to your processes. Save yourself and the client a world or heartache and frustration by following the tried and true processes. It might seem tough while you’re going through it, but it’s better than the alternative. So when it comes time to tell the client no you can simply say,

“Sorry, we cannot send you beta until you’ve approved the design. I know it’s so silly that we do that. It’s not my fault, the process is bad! Just give me a couple days and you’ll be thrilled with the results”

Now your agency is the good cop and the process is the bad cop.

And the process isn’t really bad, it’s actually really awesome and really effective if done properly, but you can let the client think it’s bad.

And while your client is over there stewing over getting told no your agency can work diligently to produce the work you promised them. I’m not going to sugar coat it, your client probably won’t be thrilled about it at the time. However, it will be well worth it in the long run. Once they get their deliverables on time, on budget, and way above their expectations they’ll completely forget about the steps you didn’t let them skip because your “process is bad.”


(NOTE: Ever been here before? You’re not alone. Join my Agency Owner Success group on Facebook to chat with others who know exactly what you’re going through.)

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