Have you ever received an email or phone call from a client with a subject of, “we need to talk…”, or something as equally foreboding?
As my company grew beyond myself, I found myself needing to stay on top of a number of projects, most of which I had no direct, daily involvement. As the team scaled, my ability to stay on top of each and every concern diluted. I no longer knew everything that was happening in my company.
And this scared me.
So I did what any fledgling manager of a team of developers and designers would do, and managed without managing. I’d monitor our project management software throughout the day, and make a mental note of what was getting done and what was left to do.
Unfortunately, this only told part of the story.
Project management tools, email threads, and so on that revolve around the particulars of a project fail to track the sentiment. It’s up to you to read between the lines and infer how happy your client is (and some clients are more willing than others to directly express their happiness — or lack thereof).
After having gone through a series of “we need to talk” discussions on projects that, on the surface, looked perfectly fine, I knew I had to do something to keep this from happening again.