The ASAP Syndrome
“We want the development done ASAP but don’t really want to spend a lot.”
Let’s pause right here and say that there has yet to be one instance in any project we have ever done where a client wants it to cost a lot and take a long time. As Warren Buffet once said, “Who wants to get rich slow?”
Just about every eCommerce agency understands that cost and time are two factors that are already baked into every project and business in any sense. We understand this. So we recommend something radical — let’s change the conversation.
- “We want it done right and on schedule.”
- “We want someone we can trust to get it done…period.”
- “Let’s both work on the requirement document so that it makes sense for both parties given the time and budget.”
This new conversation may seem totally idealistic but it is possible. We have seen it work and work well.
It’s instructive to spend a couple minutes dissecting this all-too-common directive.
#1 ASAP is Totally Subjective
Sure, we get it. You want it ASAP. Who doesn’t? But the acronym doesn’t really say much. As Soon As Possible is subjective and dependent on each party’s internal timelines and schedules. Deliverables are much better outlined with an actual date and/or time. If you are always leaning on ASAP for tasks to be done, perhaps that speaks to some internal organizational issues which should be sorted out before work begins.
#2 ASAP Initiates Hurried Work
You have now set the pace for not entirely thoughtful work but rushed work that may have little brainpower baked into it. That’s not to say we don’t understand. We’ve been clients and store owners. Who wants to slow-boat their development into next year? Still, we have found that ASAP work generally ends up with subpar results. Many clients arrive at S+C’s door because of bad ASAP experiences in the past that actually took more time and money than a disciplined timeline.
#3 ASAP + Not Wanting to Spend a Lot
Together, no time and little money broadcast an unfortunate message. Sometimes it’s not even on purpose. It’s a social construct that many, many people use but the message still stands. This somewhat silly sign says it best.
Bring everyone (stakeholders, vendors, etc.) together and establish an approach and project plan. It could be as simple as a kick-off meeting or a few emails before embarking on the project pathway. This is aimed at reducing the amount of chatter, inquiries and concerns later in the project which invariably slow the process. When things get bogged down, many clients throw up their hands and give in to the ASAP syndrome.
Record the details of business/task/project first. Many times the simple exercise of writing the steps and goals of an initiative will yield some fruitful conversations. That, in turn, will help accelerate the process. Wait, what? Yes, speed up the process. Most business don’t know that actual coding of most eCommerce projects takes very little time compared to the proper planning and the vetting of the work.
Have regular check-ins with your agency. This is rather paramount for a healthy project. This will maintain focus and help the entire team navigating along the timeline. Fruitless meanderings and unnecessary rabbit-hole expeditions can be curtailed before they waste too much time.
In conclusion, our experience has taught us that…
- ASAP+No Budget does not get things done faster
- ASAP+No Budget does not create great work
- ASAP+No Budget is not a cornerstone for a healthy relationship
So again, we challenge you to change the conversation. Sure, this doesn’t always sell well to the C-level people or other decision-makers but if you want a healthy, high quality project this is the path that leads to eCommerce success.