That’s possibly the scariest part of the job – negative feedback. The first reaction to it is always frustrating, but the prolonged ones shouldn’t be that emotional. Take a glass of water, gulp a few sips, follow the advice mentioned in this blog, and start to handle it practically.
Ideally, every agency tries hard to please the client by delivering the best website. No one deliberately delivers a bad website. And, to eliminate the errors, the agencies have quality testing and assurance phase before the final delivery.
Issues if any should have brought up while regularly communicating with the client or while sharing project milestones.
Here’s How You Can Tackle Negative Feedback
Ask for Narrow/Constructive Feedback
Constructive feedbacks are always welcomed because destructive criticism doesn’t do any good. Let’s understand these in detail
Constructive Criticism: Constructive criticism picks up the problematic areas in your work, the areas that need improvement. These help the developer and the agencies eradicate the mistakes next time. It is helpful because ‘a man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful - Proverb’. So, yes, it is good.
Example of Constructive Feedback: The app is fetching the whole data as a single table. It shouldn’t be like this. Each entry must be fetched separately so we can change the items easily in the future. The coding isn’t done keeping the future plans in mind”
Constructive feedback will help the developer construct a separate table for each entry as per the requirement
Destructive Criticism: This is just anger bursting when someone receives an unsatisfied work due to any reason.
Example of Destructive Feedback: It’s a badly coded website. Can’t you do one thing right? How am I supposed to fetch different entries now? This is how you code?
If the client had suggested that he/she wants to save each entry separately for future scope, the developer would have developed in that manner. This brings us to the second point.
Future Scope of Project
The gap between the website and the applications is thinning with time as more websites are evolving to offer application-level services. That makes the scope of the website endless. The websites can touch new heights. But, it must be mentioned in the PRD - Product Requirement Document. If it is not included in 1st phase PRD, then the code that is being prepared might not cope with your phase 2 requirements.
Even if the clients mention phase 3 and phase 4 requirements that will be launched after 2 years, the developers can still code in a way to make it future proof today.
If in two weeks the plan for the website/project changes and not discussed with the developers, the code for the website you receive will not be compatible with your new ideas. The agency or the developer is not to be blamed in that case.
Clients who are in touch with another web developer get the agency’s work cross-checked to be double sure of the work. Now, when a third-party comes into the picture, things change drastically. Even a secured platform like HubSpot becomes vulnerable to threats due to the involvement of independent third parties.
Feedback from a third-party is not healthy for two major reasons.
- We don’t know the intentions. People reviewing the code might want the project themselves that they will point out anything to poach the client.
- Agencies have their individual coding standards and parameters. The third-party may or may not follow the similar coding pattenrs. Many debatable points originate when two different approaches come together. It’s natural. So, judging one developer’s code from another developer’s point of view that follows a different approach is not ‘healthy’.
If the clients genuinely want their ‘third-party developer’ to review the code, then they should mention the coding standard in the PRD. Or, the best way is to include that friend-cum-developer from the beginning, if their judgment matters and have credibility.
Proof of Justification
An agency follows a tight project management routine where they communicate with clients and team members through emails and various chat portals. Every project development stage is well documented. If the need arises, present those to the client in support of your work. If it matches the client’s initial requirements, then blaming the developers is unethical and unprofessional.
If the final delivered website doesn’t match the requirements or was not built to meet the future scope of the website, then the agency should do the necessary changes to rectify the errors.
Tips to give constructive feedback to your developer or the agency
- Trade shoes with your developer (not literally), but put yourself in the developer’s position and then look at the situation. You will see a totally different perspective. This might give you time to think and your destructive criticism might turn into a constructive one.
- As it is important for the developers not to respond with anger even to the destructive criticism, it is important for clients as well to cool down a bit before criticizing someone else’s work. I get it that you didn’t like the website. But, instead of lashing out like ‘I don’t like this’, it would be better to mention ‘what’ you didn’t like and ‘why’ you didn’t like it and ‘how’ you want it to be.
- When improvements happen, do send praiseworthy words as well. This will encourage the team.
- Don’t interpret without hearing what the other side has to say. You only know your side of the story. There may be something you missed – Devil is always in the details.
- While criticizing someone’s work, criticize the work, not the person. Keep in mind to separate the person from the actions. Focus on the actions, tasks, and improvements.
I hope this helped both client and the developer/agencies how to give/receive feedback. Feedback is important, never miss giving or receiving one. Remember to go for constructive feedback, always.
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