Responding To Emails: The Bueller Effect

the bueller effect

Last week we discussed managing dysfunctional employees. Not so much how to deal with them because¬† you don’t. You fire them and move on. It was more about how to spot one, how we all have had to deal with one and their negative impact on your business.

This week, we discuss the “Bueller effect”.

You send an email to your developer asking for an update, but get no answer. The Bueller effect.

You’re certain they got the email, you’re pretty sure they read the email, but for some freakin’ reason they just don’t respond.¬† The Bueller effect.

Why? Is it their way of telling you to ‘eff off? Do they think you have nothing better to do with your time then to ask for updates? No one really knows the answer because no one really knows what goes on inside the head of a designer/developer. They live in their own world and don’t seem to understand why deadlines might be important.

There’s nothing worse than not being able to give your paying client an update. So if you’re boss, employer, client or contractor asks for an update, give them one. Take 5 minutes and kindly let them know where you are and when you hope to be finished. Don’t wait until they’ve emailed you 5 times, by then they’re going to be pretty pissed off so it’ll be tougher getting them to understand why you’re behind on their project…again.

Even if you’re not asked for an update, give them one anyway. Keep your client informed and prepared. If it’s a project that is measured in months, weekly updates should be standard. If it’s a shorter 3-4 week project then only a couple of updates are necessary. The client simply wants to know what’s going on. Don’t wait for them to email you. That’s like trying to stay hydrated and only drinking water when thirsty. It’s too late. Be preemptive.

Do your best to pad your delivery date. If you’re guy tells you it’ll be ready in a week, tell your clients it’ll be ready in 3 weeks. Playing this game certainly makes forecasting pretty impossible and will stretch your limits, but it’ll save you a lot of groveling and apologizing for circumstances that are out of your control.

So if you’re developer isn’t cooperating with you by not giving you updates, don’t worry, it’ll be his turn to panic when you don’t respond to his emails about payment.

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