July 19, 2017
A coworker recently taught me a client management technique that I love.
When a stakeholder asks for a change to the software we’re developing, my default response is, roughly: “Sure thing”.
Then later: “I’m working on that issue we discussed now”.
And finally: “It’s done”.
Here’s an alternate approach: skip the first two conversations and go straight to the third. So, if I receive an email asking for a change, I do it as soon as I can, and my first and only communication to the client is: “It’s done”.
It’s a play on the adage “Underpromise; overdeliver”. In this case, I’m not promising anything, the most under- of promises. And I deliver in a moment when stakeholders have pushed the problem completely out of their minds. That is more than they expect.
This technique demands asynchronous and patient communication between team members. It creates a shorter interaction with less back-and-forth. And it establishes you as the type of programmer who gets things done.