Bill Kenney

Sharing Your Work in Progress

In an effort to be as open and valuable to the community as possible, we encourage our readers and followers to send us questions on topics they are interested in hearing our thoughts on. This week, I am diving in and answering a great question sent in by @BrianPerezer.


Brian asked:

“Hi Sidecar! I'm curious about how you guys share "work in progress" publicly while being sensitive to a client. It would be interesting to hear how your client relationships are shaped and built for this trust. I believe it's because your client relationships are built with some sort of transparencies.”

- @BrianPerezer

Thanks for sending this over, Brian. I am going to do my best to keep this short and sweet.

It’s no secret that we loooooove to share what we are working on. Between Dribbble, Twitter, Instagram, and Behance, we are always posting something. This has a huge impact on our business in a variety of ways (I will write more on that in a future post). As for this topic, we have a very open discussion with our clients in the project kickoff call. You used the words “trust” and “transparent” and both of those couldn’t be more important to us in our client relationships. That is a huge part of who we are and the kind of relationships we look to form, whether that be with clients, peers, coworkers, etc.

Much of the trust and transparency for the client starts and builds in the sales process (believe it or not), but the kickoff call is where we actually get to the topic at hand, sharing work. The kickoff call with our clients serves a variety of purposes, mainly introducing team members, covering early questions, gauging expectations, and stage-setting. This call is a must in any project. Toward the end of that call, we have a specific line item called “Dribbbleability.” Since most of our clients are familiar with our social activity, and Dribbble specifically, we don’t spend much time explaining Dribbble itself. If they are not familiar, I will take some time to talk over the platform, and the potential advantages and/or disadvantages of social showcasing during the design process. Even though I use Dribbble as the subject for the conversation, the response to the question applies to all social platforms and our portfolio development.

So the question I pose to them goes a little something like this: “Which of these scenarios do you fall into as far as sharing work on Dribbble is concerned?”

  1. Green Light: We are allowed to post anything and everything we touch on the project from the kickoff meeting forward. Nothing is sensitive or needs to be hidden.
  2. Yellow Light: This option allows for some sharing but certain elements or features remain hidden from the public eye until the full rollout. This often requires a defined list of what is allowable and what is not, or it requires that the client is offered a review process in advance of each shot.
  3. Red Light: This is pretty obvious, but this is a full stop. No sharing outside of the Focus Lab team. This is typically due to the scale of the project and eyes of the competition. The client is probably planning a big splash rollout and doesn’t want any of the competitors to be in the know until it’s live.

So which option gets picked most often? That is changing over time but it’s still a mix of the three. In the past, it was a high majority green but as the stakes have risen and the clients are getting bigger, the Red Light is coming out a bit more (a good problem to have). I would still say that more than half of our projects are greenlighted and those clients do love the added eyes and exposure we can give them. It’s very openly talked about and can be leveraged as an additional value from working with us, especially if our target demographics align.

“In the end, we just want to do what’s right for the client.”

In the end, we just want to do what’s right for the client. Some clients worry that we will be disappointed if they don’t give us the Green Light, and that’s not true. We certainly want to post when the time is right, but not if it’s going against the comfort of our clients and what’s best for their project.

Thanks for the question Brian, Cheers!

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