All over the map

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What is your ap­proach when a client pre­scribes a di­rec­tion, es­pe­cially when it’s the kind you’ve seen pro­duce weak re­sults in the past? Dar­rell Estabrook, Rich­mond, VA, USA TF: We do still get quite a few clients com­ing to us with a list of de­liv­er­ables and our first ques­tion is al­ways the same: ‘What out­comes are you look­ing to achieve?’

For us the start­ing point isn’t the ‘how’, it’s the ‘what’ and we ask all clients to fo­cus on the out­comes be­fore we start. By do­ing this – and work­ing with clients in this more col­lab­o­ra­tive way from the start – we of­ten man­age to steer the brief in a more mean­ing­ful di­rec­tion, away from some­thing that we

don’t be­lieve in. If we have clar­ity on the out­come we can ex­plain the how.

Of course we need to be re­spect­ful in chal­leng­ing the client’s wishes and be mind­ful that any new so­lu­tions or way of ap­proach­ing the prob­lem fits in with their in­di­vid­ual cul­ture and or­gan­i­sa­tional struc­tures.

When work­ing with clients, Code Com­put­erlove’s first ques­tion is al­ways: ‘What are you try to achieve?’

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