9 Tips To Effectively Work with Developers & Designers

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Collaborating with developers and designers can be a challenging task, but with the right approach, it can be a fruitful and enjoyable experience. As a branding agency, we’ve worked with our fair share of freelancers and contractors, having mixed experiences. Here are 10 tips based on our personal experiences:

Hire the right people

Do your research before hiring your contractors. Firstly, every developer and designer has their strengths and weaknesses. Make sure to hire the person who best aligns with your brand identity in their work, this is especially crucial with designers. If you’re building a website with lots of animations, ensure your developers know how to code it.

Secondly, make sure to check their references, reviews and previous work. This aligns with our recommendations of working with graphic designers. The internet is filled with con artists who will either a) misrepresent their experience b) charge way too much for subpar work c) reuse and repurpose previous work.

We recently worked with a designer on Fiverr who advertised project completion in 10 days, but then setup fiver to allow for unlimited revision time (our mistake for missing the small print). Our project took 8 weeks rather than 10 days, and was of incredibly poor quality. Instances like this will occur often if you work with designers advertising work at significantly discounted rates. Remember, you’re paying for time and experience.

Agree on pricing, scope and deliverables

Clearly agree what is included in the delivery of your projects, how long it will take, the number of revisions, and what happens with extras. If you can get this in writing, it is even better. Also ensure, that you sign contracts ensuring the project, source code and deliverables belong to you after project completion.

Clearly define the project goals

Before starting any project, make sure that you have a clear understanding of the project goals and objectives. Share this with the developers and designers so that they can have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. If you are unsure of what you want, then the developers and designers certainly won’t have a clue either. You will change your mind often, force them into revisions and in essence this will be a waste of your time and money.

Ensure you provide all materials, imagery and stylesheets before starting the project.

Communicate regularly

Regular communication is crucial in any project, but it’s even more important when working with developers and designers. Keep them informed of any changes, updates, or issues that arise throughout the project. We recommend setting up a weekly standup call, to check on their progress and allow them to ask you any questions that they may have.

Avoid micromanaging

While it’s important to communicate regularly, avoid micromanaging the project. Give developers and designers the freedom to work on their tasks independently. If your project plans are set, then your designers already have everything they need.

Use project management tools

Project management tools like Trello, Jira, or Asana can help you stay organized and on top of your project tasks. Make sure that everyone involved in the project is using the same tools to avoid confusion.

Provide detailed feedback

When providing feedback, be specific and detailed. This will help developers and designers make the necessary changes quickly and accurately.

Collaborate on design decisions

Design decisions should be a collaborative effort between developers and designers. Listen to their input and ideas, and be willing to compromise. This is especially important if you’re new in the design and development world. The people you hire probably have much more experience and can recommend things that will save you time, money and possibly your brand identity.

Allow for extra time

This applies especially for development projects. If you agree on an eight week timeline, account for 10 to 12 weeks in your own planning. Between unforeseen roadblocks, revisions and just general freelancer issues, you are more likely than not to overrun the timing of the project.

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