Episode 107

Getting the Right Web Team For Your Project

If you’re thinking of hiring a web development team, then listen to this LMScast with Chris Badgett and Ali Mathis of codeBOX. They’ll give you some important guidelines for getting the right web team for your project.

There are many options for choosing your support team, from freelancers, agencies, or friends in the business. Make sure you choose well, because it will be expensive and painful if your web company fails. Many customers arrive at codeBOX after having a bad experience with another web development provider. Their most common complaint is a lack of communication once money changes hands that leaves them feeling confused, alienated, and frustrated. They don’t know what’s going on with their project, and often the finished product is not what they wanted.

At codeBOX we build custom eLearning platforms using LifterLMS, as well as other integrated technologies and third-party APIs. Our goal is to build relationships and be a long-term trusted advisor for our clients. Before we start any project, Ali conducts an in-depth discovery process with the client to learn what they really want to build, then provide them with a timeline and estimate. Once the project is under way, Ali answers emails daily, calls each client weekly with a progress report, and answers any questions or concerns they may have. We are able to provide this service remotely to a global clientele.

As an online education entrepreneur, you’re probably not going to find a web development support team in your physical location, especially if you live away from urban areas. It’s especially important to work with a service you can trust to be flexible, responsive, and professional, and to keep you well informed. You might be tempted to hire lower-cost services in other parts of the world, but you’ll always get what you pay for. It’s a wiser choice to pay more up front to get what you really want the first time. Effective project management and communication is what makes the difference between projects that might turn out okay and those that exceed expectations.

With codeBOX web development services you know you’re getting the right team for your project from beginning to end. We value our relationship with you and are committed to becoming your technology partner for the continuing success of your business.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Chris: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. I’m joined today with Ali Mathis. How are you doing, Ali?

Ali: Great, how are you, Chris?

Chris: Awesome. Well, good to have you on the show. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about getting the right web team for your project. If you’ve been following us for a while, perhaps you saw on LMScast, the last episode, where we talked about how to evolve from just being a one person show with your learning platform, your membership site, your online course, your LMS, your web application, whatever it is … to going from being a one person show to having at least a decent web hosting account and start building a team so that you’re not doing it all. If you’re watching this video, you’re probably already at that stage where you’re exploring looking for a team to support you.

The company behind LifterLMS is called codeBOX. You can find out more about us at gocodeBOX.com. One of the things we do at codeBOX is we build custom learning projects, or platforms on top of LifterLMS that often incorporate Lifter. Or, we bring in other technology and integrate through other third party APIs, and really just build whatever you can think of in terms of a user story of what you want your platform to do, what you want the experience to be. We can build literally anything, and that’s more of a custom development project. If you’re at that spot where you’re looking to hire a team, you should start interviewing, and looking around, and exploring what your options are. You could go with a freelancer. You could go with an agency. You could go with one of your friends who you think might does web design.

There’s some important things you should know about setting yourself up for success, because if you fail with your web company, it can be very expensive, it can be very painful. You can not get the outcome, or make the progress you want to have. When we start our engagements with clients, we get to know each other a little bit. Ali, here, leads up a lot of our discovery processes with codeBOX, where we get to know our clients and figure out exactly what we’re going to build, and consult on that, and come up with a detailed timeline and estimate. We get to know each other, and one of the things we find out early on is there’s a common thing we see that clients have experienced, and it relates to dealing with a previous web team, or a team they’re not having a great time with. Can you tell us more about what this common trend we’re seeing is?

Ali: Sure, Chris. Yeah, in the past couple of discoveries we’ve had, and speaking to our clients about their past experiences. A lot of them have commented to me that they’ve had unpleasant experiences, just due to poor communication from the web development, which possibly is partially due to poor organization, just not returned emails. That leaves the client confused and alienated from the team. They’re not really sure what’s going on with their project. They haven’t heard back from anybody, and they just feel really frustrated.

Chris: Yeah, and that’s really too bad. As an education entrepreneur, whatever it is you’re trying to build on the web, when you start looking for that team to support you, especially if you’re not in a urban area, or a bigger city, you’re going to be looking for a remote team to do what they do. Either you’re looking in other parts of the world, which have different currencies with different pricing, so you’re trying to get more bang for your buck. Or, you’re trying to go where the best talent is. If you’re looking for a development team that specializes in building learning platforms on top of LifterLMS, this is the absolute best one. If that’s important to you, you would come to codeBOX for that.

You have to look around. When you work with a team that’s offshore, or not in your town, that you may never see face-to-face, that involves a lot of trust. It can be really disappointing when that relationship doesn’t work out, or you feel ignored. I don’t know what’s more frustrating than asking a question, or checking in for a progress update, and then hearing nothing, hearing crickets. There’s nothing that could be more frustrating than that, especially if I had a lot of money on the line. I’d really value that communication.

Ali: Yeah. I can speak for myself personally, but I try to respond to all of our client emails same day, often within the same hour. When we run a project, we communicate with the clients on a weekly basis. If necessary, we talk to them more, but we always schedule a weekly check-in call, just so we can show them or talk to them about what we’ve been working on, and ask questions. They really get to know us well, and we get to know them well. I think it just makes for a much better process.

Chris: Absolutely. Yeah, and it’s just one of those things where I think you get what you pay for. You can probably find somewhere on the internet where you can get a website built for you for very cheap, but you’re not going to get that communication. You’re not going to get that team behind it. You’re not going to get the good advice and the consulting along the way. You may get a team that’s not able to actually execute on what you’re asking for, or can’t adapt with you as your needs and your priorities change during the project. I’d encourage you to really check out your options out there. If you are looking for economic value, to be aware of the trap of taking your project to something that you find, like on a website, that’s super cheap, or outsource everything. You do get what you pay for.

In the past, we’ve called it ‘developer abuse.’ I don’t necessarily like that term, but I feel like I’ve just heard a lot of potential clients and customers just having a hard time with working with and communicating with their development team, and even feeling taken advantage of, once the money exchanged hands. Or, the project got under way, then all of a sudden the communication that was there during the sales process just totally disappeared. We do the opposite. It’s just that communication is so key.

Ali: Yeah, I think part of that comes from … Part of our package is having a dedicated project manager on the projects who’s able to maybe translate what the developers are saying, and the technical language to something that the clients can really understand. If they’re not as technically minded as the developers are, and just be that bridge of communication, which is really, really important.

Chris: Absolutely. Ali, you have an incredible gift at that, and building that digital bridge is key because you have to … I like to think of us first as foremost at codeBOX as solving business problems. We really want to get to know you. We want to know where you’re trying to build, where you’re trying to get to in terms of success. If we don’t understand that, if we don’t communicate and understand each other around that, then we can’t bring the best digital or technological software solution to make that happen. We need to understand those business problems, and we need to be able to communicate that down to the engineering level, … and vice versa when we’re getting advice from the engineering level, we need to be able to advise that to someone who’s speaking more the language of business and what they need for their project. Effective project management and communications is absolutely essential. It’s what separates the projects that go well with ones that exceed expectations, and so on.

Ali: I think that’s honestly really one of my favorite things about my job is getting to know the clients, and hearing about their companies, and their businesses, and their challenges, and their problems, and just building a relationship with them. I think that’s what makes codeBOX so special and where we really excel. I really enjoy having … We have several VIP clients that have been clients of ours for a long time that we have regular weekly calls with. I look forward to it every week. I look forward to hearing how they’re doing, how their project is doing, how their business is doing. We really make an effect to get to know our clients, and they feel like friends more than business partners sometimes.

Chris: Absolutely. Just to close it out, I just want to leave with a metaphor. I heard somebody once say that when you build a house, everybody hates their contractor when they’re done, or the building team. That really just means there wasn’t good communication there. We like to take the opposite approach. When we get done building your web property, or your home on the internet, we value your relationship at the end just as much as at the beginning and during the middle. We want to end up as that trusted technology partner for you that you can always count on, and know that you can get in touch with, and communicate with, with problems or new ideas, or new features, or new concepts you want to flesh out. Yeah, we’re here to build the best possible house for you, and also communicate well with you on that journey.

Thank you for checking out this episode of LMScast. I would encourage you, if you, if you haven’t checked it out yet, go to gocodeBOX.com. Again, codeBOX is the company that makes the LifterLMS software, and it’s over at gocodeBOX, where we do our client projects, our custom development, and design. Go ahead, Ali.

Ali: You can also subscribe to our company newsletter on our website, and that’s a great way to learn more about our team and what we’re working on individually and as a company, … and follow us on Facebook, as well.

Chris: Absolutely. Yeah, that newsletter, go check it out. It’s not your average newsletter where a company just tries to sell you stuff. We talk about what’s going on with us as individuals, and spotlight interesting things that we’re seeing around the web, or with our clients. Again, go to gocodeBOX.com, find the subscribe link, and we look forward to catching you in the next episode.

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