Most projects involve both client-facing and internal meetings. A project of any substantial size should involve a weekly or bi-weekly team sync. Most of the time, when we deliver work to clients, it should be done during a presentation meeting. For a typical new site build, the meetings would look something like:
- As the sale becomes imminent, the Head of the relevant department meets with Sales to understand the project. The department head decides on a staffing plan for the project.
- When the sale is complete and we have a signed SOW, the department head sets up a meeting with Sales and the full anticipated staff for the project (including people whose role may take a while to kick in, like QA people). At this point, the project Organizer is in place and should take responsibility for the project.
- The Organizer sets up a kickoff meeting with the Client along with key internal team members. Some team members don’t need to attend unless they would like to. For example, it may not be necessary to involve QA in this meeting, unless the client is going to end up interacting with them frequently.
- For each key project deliverable, the Organizer sets up an internal review and an external review.
- The internal review is the “Dry Run” during which the staff responsible for completing the design or development work showcase it to the rest of the project team for feedback. In the case of a large project, this would involve the team showing completed work to an Artisan for review. For a smaller project, the sole Artisan might present the work to the Organizer, with the Organizer acting as a stand-in for the client. Based on the internal feedback, the team members then revise the work prior to showing it to the client.
- The external review is where we show the work to the client. The Organizer should set the stage and keep notes. The Artisan and their team are then responsible for guiding the client through the work. The Organizer would then provide the client the opportunity to provide feedback on the call and/or by email. The Organizer is responsible for translating this feedback into actionable Todos for the team.
- When a site is QAed and ready to launch, the Organizer should set up a final walkthrough call with the client to ensure we have their blessing to launch, and a launch-day call in which many project team members are present to deploy the site to production.
The ideal meeting schedule will vary greatly based on the project itself. When in doubt, Organizers should ask the team and client for their opinion on how many meetings are necessary or helpful. The Organizer must always consider the budget impact of meetings. Especially when multiple Cantilever team members are involved, meetings are costly. Never take an hour when 30 minutes will do, and if a meeting can be replaced with an email or video walkthrough for a deliverable, do it.
When we have an ongoing relationship with a client, it is also helpful to conduct periodic check-in meetings. In an ongoing relationship we will have a backlog of work from which the client chooses specific items for us to focus on each month or quarter. A regular checkin is a great opportunity to review that list with the client and discuss new items to add to the backlog as well.
Additionally, Organizers should try to have a big-picture call with clients about once a year to check in on their business at large and get their feedback on our work with them.
Most meetings are billable to the client. Meetings which focus on the nature of the business relationship between Cantilever and the client are not. These are considered “Account Management.” As an example, discussing a separate new project is not billable. Once that project has started and we are discussing it, that’s billable. If a meeting touches on both topics, split your timesheet entry to fairly reflect the nature of the discussion.