It’s easy to blame the client for things that go wrong.
Their insistence on using outdated design techniques or marketing strategies can drag out what should be quick calls or email exchanges. Their invitation to everyone they know to provide feedback on site progress can lead to too many cooks in the kitchen. This then leaves your nerves fried from having to reign them all in. Their vague suggestion that they want the site to “look good” can impede progress as you’re unsure of where to go with a site that they clearly have no vision for.
And, of course, there are the clients who don’t provide you with content before the project begins, which can lead to a whole mess of problems.
Why wouldn’t you place the blame on them when a project runs behind, exceeds the budget, or fails altogether?
Unfortunately, the blame can only go to one person and that person is you.
Let me rephrase. The blame falls on you for not developing and enforcing a process that ensures that all content is delivered upfront. Or that client feedback is kept in check. Or that any deviations from the original scope are billed for.
So, let’s talk about project failure and how you can improve your business in spite of it.
WordPress Project Failures: Why Do They Happen?
In an article that discusses the strategies for learning from failure, it places the various causes of failure on a spectrum.
It starts with those that are the most blameworthy:
These include things like:
- Deviating from one’s process.
- Straying from pre-determined specs.
- Adhering to a faulty process (ie. the one that you’re unwilling to enforce).
You have processes in place for a reason. And when you stipulate that clients must provide content before a project begins, you can’t expect things to go smoothly if those requirements are unfulfilled.
The Project Management Institute releases a report every year called the Pulse of the Profession. One of the main focuses is on how many projects fail and the main reasons for it.
In 2018, the Pulse reported a significant difference between companies who met project goals and those who did not.
As you can see, those with “high maturity” (i.e. those who have a thorough understanding of project management and process development) were much more successful overall. Failure rates were significantly lower and outcomes were much more positive.
When you take a closer look at the reasons why so many projects failed in 2018, it’s easy to see how something like asking for content ahead of time can have a major effect on project outcomes.
Three of the reasons cited go back to the initial requirement that you should be setting for clients. However, many WordPress consultants probably fail to adhere to:
- Requirements gathering
- Change management
“Failure” is an ugly word, but it’s something you can’t shy away from. Especially when it starts cutting into your bottom line.
There’s much to be learned from the failures of the past. And if your lack of a process when it comes to onboarding a client and setting expectations is the cause of the project’s downward spiral, who is to blame here?
Who Is to Blame When Your WordPress Project Fails?
If your WordPress project is seriously derailed or leads to total failure, who is to blame? Is it the client that didn’t provide content on time? Is it the contractor that couldn’t conceptualise what the client wanted because there was no content to work from?
While it would be easy to point the finger of blame at others, this is not one of those times.
Sure, clients can get busy or be distracted. Or maybe they just don’t want to be accountable because they believe that paying you a lot of money relieves them of all responsibility to the website. But whose fault is it for signing a client like that in the first place? Or allowing their expectations to be set so poorly? Or for starting a project without all the required materials on hand?
If production slows down or stops altogether, this falls on you.
Learn from the mistakes of the past and lay down a foolproof process that ensures the best results every time. If you can get your process in order, and start getting content from clients ahead of time (or offer to create it for them), you can avoid having to accept the blame for another mismanaged project.