Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Customer satisfaction through requirements sign-off

In my previous post “Customer satisfaction VS Project sign-off” I focused on the customer satisfaction, but I’m not neglecting here the project sign-off, as signing-off a project on time with all the features that were in the RSD and with the required quality means customer satisfaction. But when the way became the target and all our effort is to achieve the points on the way without understanding what is the target of the project, for sure we will get the wrong results.

Customer satisfaction is the responsibility of everyone involved in a project since its early days when it was just a lead, some projects failed or faced a lot of problems just because the sales person told the customer something that can’t be done, or told him something and write something else in the proposal, but it is there in the customer’s imagination and he is waiting for it at the end.

Projects like this may be canceled just after this point while collecting the detailed requirements, the customer may hear too many times “out of scope and you have to pay for this and we will change the delivery date” that lets him think that he was talking to someone from another company and this is not a good company, and in this case it will be so difficult to achieve this customer satisfaction.

Please, if you are a sales person or helping the sales team, make sure that everything is clear to the customer and is written in your proposal, otherwise don’t blame the delivery team that they didn’t satisfy the customer because it was just you who lost him.

As a project manager this conflict must be solved immediately through good communication not just sending emails and receiving emails between you and the customer and the sales team, and don’t start this project before solving this problem, as you can’t start project and you can’t write the requirements, and for sure you can’t manage a project without knowing that is the requirements of this project.

As a conclusion, the first step to satisfy the customer and to sign-off the project is to have clear written requirements, and to sign it off after reviewing it perfectly by your team and make sure that the customer understands what is written and has reviewed it and say it to him face to face: "You must read the document!!!" in our region you will hear it many times from customers: "I didn’t read it before, it is too much and it is in English" No problem if he said it in the beginning, but it is a disaster if he said it after a while.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Customer satisfaction VS Project sign-off

“Satisfaction”, is a very big word epically when it relate to customers. Satisfying a customer sometimes can’t be achieved, but we have to plan and work on making it.

In many companies, developers and all the related jobs like the graphics designers and even the project managers in some cases are all focusing on the delivery and the sign-off within the time frame in the first place then the budget then the quality. And no one is caring about the sales person and how his task may be impossible when he wants to make another deal with the same customer on another project or add new requirements to the same product.

Making new deals with the same customer mean “customer satisfaction” mainly not the feedback you are receiving from the customer as customers may not say it to you when they are not satisfied, but they will say it everywhere else the way that will affect your future business.

From my experience with customers especially in KSA, they are going with the one who are working on the satisfaction of the product’s end user not just the customer himself. Going to an extra point with most customers in our region is the main key even if he is very professional and understands that delivering the written agreed requirements must be the only thing that governs our tasks.

But also in all cases don’t go too much away from the project plan, and remember that you are hired to deliver the project, and sometimes you may need to say it to your customer that you can’t give him any extra point and you have to balance.

Customer satisfaction is not just a good or neutral feedback with the closure of the project; it is the things that force your customer not to go with your competitors in the next project (hopefully not the same project).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Supported web browsers

Developing a web page was and still a fun task, but one of the main problems that may face a web developer or as we said these days “Web UI Developer” is the variety of the browsers in the first place, as web developer must learn how to display his page on seven different browsers and each browser has something to force the web developer to work around.

I was reviewing and analyzing the browsers statistics on W3Schools ( where you will find that the main browsers that we MUST support are Internet Explorer (39%) and Firefox (45%) and if you want to support an extra browser so you have to support Chrome (7%)

Microsoft has announced that they will support IE6 until 2014, what that mean to web developers? In my opinion this is not affecting them by any mean, as the main factor that forcing them to make their web pages IE6 friendly is the percentage of visitors (13%) and not anything else! Also IE8 (10%) must be supported beside IE7 (15%). As you can see the differences between each other is very small and you cannot select one over the other.

On the other hand, building a page that is supporting Firefox must include FF 3.0 (24%) and FF 3.5 (21%), and no need to support FF 2.0 (< 2%) any more.

Regarding the screen resolution, the statistics shows that most (93%) of the internet users are using 1024x786 or higher resolution.

But please take care, all the above percentages may be changed dramatically if your page will be a part of an intranet site for example, as the numbers may be changed to 100% for IE6 on 800x600. So it is depending on collecting the right information from the customer before starting on developing your pages, as you will save too much time and serve your customer better.

Finally, it is not a matter of colors and shapes that must be exactly the same on all the browsers, it is all about talking to your visitor the best way you can, as this is your main role as a web developer, and as you started your site by reading numbers representing the percentage of each browser usage, develop your page the way that will make the maximum number of visitors enjoys your site.