How presenting imperfect work can help

Details 09/9/2009 Categories Filoflow.
Discussing how presenting imperfect work can help isn't meant to be an excuse for lazyness. And get over any thoughts of excusing the fact that you've simply run out of time and haven't been able to finish either.

During the course of a project, (not necessarily design based) you'll probably have several stages where you'll need to present work in progress to your client. It makes sense that at each stage, depending on what you've agreed to do, you'll want to present the best work that you can. However, I've found that producing your best work in progress can also mean leaving out some features and leaving in bugs.

Consider applying "imperfect" carefully

Any suggestion here of presenting imperfect work should be considered carefully when you create work for a client and is merely an added thought process which you could use to help in developing any projects further, collaboratively and with respect to the client. You'll need to understand your client a little to implement this too. Let me explain.

Work in progress presentations are exactly that, and are intended to present how a project is going to the client, so that they can be assured that things are working as scheduled and to their specifications.

Ambitious clients

I've found that projects that I've worked on rarely stick to specifications that were made at the start, so these presentations are often open to the client throwing in their own solutions, ideas and development "advice" based on their own expertise. I think this is completely normal and acceptable and there can be many reasons for this - the client needs to get their opinion in (ego possibly?), they need to feel like they're doing their job or they genuinely believe that they've given good feedback advice.

The client can also be quite ambitious in their ideas without heed to perhaps a pre-agreed project budget, so any discussion of "new" work needs to be reined in.

Imperfect work opens discussions that the client contributes to

If you find yourself in these "grey" specification areas, leaving the work slightly imperfect can help to leverage the situation. For example, you could be creating an interface for a question and answer survey but leave out an obvious feedback indicator for the user. Of course, you will have prepared yourself by thinking through how it could work, but the issue could be discussed in your presentation, you propose solutions, the client can resolve it with their suggestions and thus, will have done their job.

How you deal with your presentations depends on your client and your working relationship, and of course, you may have done a good job as expected by the client and they are simply happy to tell you to carry on.

However, you'll need to do your homework, but leaving work "imperfect", could give rise to greater collaboration between yourself and the client, opening up synergies between your expertise and the knowledge the client has of their market.

Alternatively, assuming you think through your own work processes carefully and thoroughly, knowingly presenting imperfect work and then opening up discussions keeps you in control and you won't be thrown by the client questioning ill-considered work.

Things to consider are:
  • Leave work imperfect by all means, but during work in progress, not in the final product!
  • Don't go too far in leaving mistakes - you'll just look incompetent.
  • Know your client and their expectations to judge how imperfect to be.
  • Leaving work imperfect and leaving features out can be too different things, depending on your project spec. (Leaving features out could lead to project phase extensions and new budgets.)

Ultimately, any process you adopt in the course of a project should aim to deliver the best work you can do in collaboration with the client's expectations.


<< Previous Entry
Next Entry >>


Design & Art Direction
East Asian Culture
Living in Hong Kong
Living in London
Made By Mark
News & Views
Self Development