After years of team members delivering web projects and other ICT solutions, Target ICT Ltd was formally established in the early part of 2018.
While the Business is incorporated and pays all taxes in the United Kingdom, from the start we have been setup with all processes ensuring we are a location independent business which has allowed us work with clients from different continents flawlessly. Fun fact: We haven’t met 95% of our clients physically before!
At the start, we worked out of the Innovation Center at De Montfort University as needed but with the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on public gatherings, it was decided that the Business would go 100% remote like most other businesses have been forced to.
Working remotely comes with its own challenges, time management, handling of distractions, keeping focused, cybersecurity and co but we have figured out how to do this with perfect results all the time.
In this post, we would outline tools and processes we use to deliver web projects and others remotely and hopefully, if your business is struggling to transforming to remote work, one or two things here can help!
There are different types of projects we carry out – simple web design and development, creation of mobile apps, website translation, ecommerce development, custom software development and a lot of others which can all be delivered remotely but as the title states, we would be focusing on delivering web projects for this post.
Before delivering web projects, a paying client needs to be available.
Most clients for the business have been acquired through referrals from previous clients and the like.
Apart from referrals, prior to going 100% remote we would also do a lot of outreach, visiting businesses we have identified our solutions can improve, going out for networking events and the like.
With the restrictions on physical gathering, we’ve had to switch to non-contact marketing methods such as calls, emails, SEO optimised content, Video and online ads.
While this misses the physical touch, it still delivers results, though we look forward to those packed conferences, breakout sessions and having face to face discussions with business owners.
While most times, we have identified an issue we can fix before approaching the client, most times we would like to discuss with them extensively to know exactly what the bottlenecks in the business are, what processes are inefficient and slowing them down as well as how exactly we can help.
Usually, in the past we would schedule a meeting with the client, take a tour of the business (especially for software projects) and have discussions with key members of staff with the responsibility of solving the issue in question.
With the transition to remote, we still have the client and staff meetings, but this time we first of all send a questionnaire form across to the client and let them schedule a call using a tool like Calendly which would be taken on either Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or Whatsapp.
We take notes during the call and then at the end, share a summary of our discussion and noted points via our Owncloud or Dropbox for confirmation.
Once client requirements are met we would need to evaluate the points of the discovery meeting and decide on what solutions we can develop that would best meet client needs.
This would have usually involved some/most of us meeting physically to do this and then drafting the proposal which would be sent electronically to the client and the contract after that is signed and agreed on.
With everyone going remote we now have our meetings electronically so first a room is created in our chat software we developed inhouse with description, all points from previous steps in our interactions and a draft proposal is created on google docs.
The proposal is fleshed out and everyone drops suggestions and observations till it is completed and sent to the client to vet or sign along with the contract. Signing is usually done electronically via Adobe fill and sign or other alternatives.
The pricing per project is usually stated in the proposal and payment terms in the contract.
Once the client signs off on the proposal, payment has to be made for us to start work.
Payment has almost always been electronic and we accept payments via Credit/Debit card, Paypal or Bank Transfer.
Fortunately, with the nature of our business we’ve not really had cause to deal with cash when accepting payments.
This is where the real work starts when delivering web projects.
We would usually make a list of content we would require from the client files for download, content (if it was agreed they would provide it, we charge for content creation), as well as photographs.
For photography, we always use professional photographs and we would usually prefer clients book their own photographers ( like our law firm re-design and translation client) or we can suggest one local or they provide previously taken photos.
We would handle resizing and editing of the photos to fit the website.
Development is another task that is now 100% remote.
The Web project we are working on would usually be split between a backend person, front end developer, graphic designer & copywriter.
While it’s easy when working physically together to simply ask for an update and have it sorted out immediately, we have tried to create the same environment virtually.
We use Todoist for Task and project management as well as Clockify for time management on tasks which are billed hourly.
We also use Git to ensure all team members working on each project are in sync.
In order to allow clients review work done before it is complete, we would usually host the work in progress on one of our non-production servers with configuration matching the server it would finally be hosted on.
With this, client gets a special link which would allow them view the site from any where in the world.
Testing while delivering web projects has always been remote and websites would be tested extensively in different browsers and with different devices (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop) to make sure it appears properly on all (responsive) of them, links going out from the website are also all checked to ensure they are all live and directing to the correct pages.
The content on the website is also glossed over to check for typos and other errors while basic security checks are conducted to ensure the code is secure and not easy to compromise.
Once the project has been fully tested and certified set to go live, it is time to put it online!
This is the moment of truth! While most times the testing server has an identical configuration with the live, there are some minor things at times that might cause bugs and glitches after the project is made live.
We would usually first publish in a sub folder on the hosting server, either provided by us or the client and then test functionality extensively before making a backup of the existing website (if it was a re-design) and pushing the newly completed project to the front page.
At this point we would have removed all unnecessary access and created secure user accounts (if a CMS is used) for the client.
The client is then sent their logins and the project officially handed over.
After we deliver a web project, the client has to have an idea on how it can be used.
Training used to be us going to the clients location on a set date and then walking the relevant staff through the functions and co of the portal but even before remote working that was found to be inefficient.
Our process changed to creating walkthrough videos on different aspects of the website which would then be sent to the client.
Topics such as making edits, uploading new content and changing basic settings are all covered.
These are linked for the client and if requested we make others so they are totally comfortable making changes when they want to.
Final Installment has been paid to us, website has been delivered to client, client is happy & we are!
But it doesn’t stop there.
We usually offer 3 hours of free work after handover to ensure the client is covered for any issues that might come up after handover.
We also follow up with the client and give tips on how they can maximize the value of their investment in the project.
We also might send lovely holiday gifts in the mail once a while (not promising anything).
This took longer than expected but hopefully the tools and processes listed here for delivering web projects remotely are helpful in transitioning all or some of your business to remote work.
Do you have a web project you’d like us to handle?
Send us an email or contact us so we can start the process of finding out how we can make your business run better.