How to create a project timeline to manage client expectations - Deepstash
How to create a project timeline to manage client expectations

How to create a project timeline to manage client expectations

Curated from: blog.freelancersunion.org

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Managing client expectations

Managing client expectations

An essential skill in freelancing is expectation management. Clients want things done quickly.

Yet, you can't do everything at once and is obliged to manage client expectations from the start. You need to put them in writing and clearly communicate them to your client.

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Break the project into smaller tasks

When you win a huge freelance project, don't rush to commit to a deadline. Instead, pause and evaluate the project properly.

Break the project down into smaller tasks. It helps to see large tasks as more doable. It also creates a clear view of the workflow and project requirements.

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Determine the time required for each task

Once you've laid out all the tasks that need to be done to complete the project, consider each task as a project milestone, including the time required for each. If you've been given a hard deadline, work backwards and assign a specific timeline for every task.

Creating project milestones get everyone on the same page and simplify the tracking progress. It also helps you justify deadlines to the client.

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Consider dependencies

It can be frustrating to find that you miss critical information midway through a project, leading to delays. This can be avoided by considering project dependencies in the planning stage. Dependencies are when you require specific tasks to be done in order to complete your task or project.

The five types of dependencies are:

  • Logical
  • External
  • Resource
  • Preferential
  • Cross-team

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Plot the schedule visually

You've created a project dependency and need to communicate the project timeline to the client visually.

To create a project timeline, plot all the tasks with their respective deadlines. It will convey an overview of the project, communicate clarity, highlight important milestones and track progress. Keep the descriptions short, use icons and colour code elements.

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Present it to the client

A project timeline is important for internal use. it is also vital to share with the client before you start work to get their input.

In a meeting, present your timeline, discuss priorities, manage expectations and ensure alignment.

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