Handing off a project to a client; what are the risks and challenges?

You’ve done it!  You’ve completed your project: you’ve completed every user story you can think up of, you’ve written everything from backlogs to retrospectives, and you’re ready to deliver your final project to your eager yet patient client.  If you’ve mentally checked off everything in the previous sentence as a “yes”, chances are, you’re good to go.  If not, then get back to the workshop.

Recall my earlier post on what “done” means.  Done is the embodiment of perfection, an impossible-to-achieve yet desirable goal.  The final hand-off to the client does not mean your work is done.  The fun has only begun.

not-done

After the product is complete, the client will undoubtedly do his or her own final review of the product before marketing it.  This is to ensure that the product is satisfactory to both the client and the intended consumers.  The reason why the development team does not get to rest upon completion is that the client may find the product unacceptable.  In this case, the team needs to revise it until the client is satisfied.  Is it over?  No.  Just because the client is satisfied doesn’t mean the consumers are.  What if the product was a total flop?  The client now faces potentially huge losses and must coordinate with the group again in order to mitigate the damage.  This process is called collaborative product development, which is a way to appease the relentless consumers (Wognum, P. M., Fisscher, O. A., & Weenink, S. A., 350).

Remember what Netflix did to Qwikster?  The client will do exactly that to the team’s paycheck if an abomination like that is created.

qwikster

If the word Qwikster doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps this logo will.  Netflix removed Qwikster just as quickly as they introduced it.  It was a disaster.  They took out everything that made Netflix good, and introduced a clunky new system that was about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.  Fortunately for them, their quick reversion prevented further damage and preserved their reputation.

Okay, back on topic.  The product was a failure, but it’s not the end of the world.  The product just needs to go back to the development phase, have its weaknesses identified, and then be revised in a way to eliminate those weaknesses (Otto, K. N., & Wood, K. L. 289).  Just remember that too many revisions after the release of the product may cause customers to lose faith in the product.

References:

Highway Trust Fund Jeopardy Remains-Members of Congress Need to Hear “The Job is Not Done” (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2014

Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1xJnZof

KN· 奥托 (美), Otto, K. N., & Wood, K. L. (2003). Product design: techniques in reverse engineering and new product development. 清华大学出版社有限公司.

Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1y4cIgB

Red Antler | Emily Heyward Interviewed by Reuters – Netflix ‘Amputates a limb to save the body’ (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2014

Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1qLbd2L

Wognum, P. M., Fisscher, O. A., & Weenink, S. A. (2002). Balanced relationships: management of client–supplier relationships in product development. Technovation, 22(6), 341-351.

Retrieved from: http://mx.nthu.edu.tw/~chchu/CPD/Data/Paper/BR.pdf

2 thoughts on “Handing off a project to a client; what are the risks and challenges?

  1. Great points were made throughout this post. I almost don’t even know where to begin. You captured my attention immediately. With every project I’ve ever had, whenever I finish some feature or design some algorithm that I thought I’d never finish I tell myself: “I’ve done it!” You took the words out my mouth. The client, the biggest obstacle there is when developing a product, it can’t be stated enough how important it is to meet and exceed their demands and you showed that beautifully through an example that I’m sure we all know: Netflix and Qwikster. Well done!

    Like

  2. Wow! I’d completely forgotten all about Qwikster until I read your post. They recovered from that so fast, I’ve been using them all these years and it’s completely slipped from my mind. I think that was a great way to illustrate the point you’re trying to make. Handing over a project to the client doesn’t mean “done”. We have to think about whether the client actually is satisfied with it and how end users will respond to the product.

    Like

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