The Objective Blog

Keep up with what we're thinking, reading, and doing.

New Space!

June 29th, 2011 - by Heber - Salt Lake City, Utah

We’re bursting at the seams here at our little space in the Ford building, so we’re finally making the move. In July we’ll be moving up the road to the Salt Lake Hardware building. All the magic elves are up there making the space look sweet before we move in. We thought we’d post a few pics of their progress:

Your Process Is Important, But It Isn’t Everything

June 22nd, 2011 - by Objective - Salt Lake City, Utah

We’re fans of processes. It’s nice to have a consistent, standard way of doing things. A tight process can increase efficiency, reduce misunderstandings, and result in more consistent quality. But sometimes we’re tempted to believe that the right process can make everything perfect so when something doesn’t seem to be going right, we’re quick to blame the process.

Here are a few scenarios which have lead us to review our process in the past:

  • A potential client says our proposal is too expensive. The result: we discuss ways to improve our process to help clients understand that an “e-commerce site like Amazon” can’t be built for a few thousand dollars.
  • After completing a project, a client asks for changes and complains about having to pay for them. The result: we review our process to find a way to help clients understand that change orders have fees.
  • A client takes months to deliver assets or content to us and then expects us to drop everything to resume work on their project. The result: we decide our process needs to set firmer controls on client responsibilities.

In these cases, and many more, we blame the process and then attempt to revise the process accordingly so that future projects won’t suffer the same issues. This isn’t inherently bad; this is a valuable, healthy method of refining the way that we work and of perfecting our service. The trouble, however, is when we fall into the trap of believing we can use process to prevent all problems.

Flawed Thinking

In reality, no process can ever account for every possible scenario.

Like us, you’ve probably seen 50-page legal documents which attempt to eliminate all risk for a transaction. Ask any attorney, however, and they’ll tell you that document is no guarantee. It may be a strong measure of protection, but it isn’t a guarantee no matter how long it is nor who created it.

Proposals, scope documents, or project contracts are no different. We’ve tried creating project documents so detailed that it seems impossible anyone could ever disagree as to the exact meaning. How did we fare? Not much better than on other projects where we spent less time trying to create a bulletproof agreement.

We’ve figured out why.

The Client is a Factor

Memorize this sentence: A good process will never fully compensate for a bad client.

It doesn’t matter how perfectly-crafted your process, a bad client will always find a loophole or cause a scenario you neither envisioned nor prepared for. To believe that the process is 100% responsible for a successful project outcome is to remove all responsibility from the client. A good process is critical, but the process can’t do it all.

With the right client, your process shouldn’t have to bear the full burden of guaranteeing the project will be problem free.


We’re by no means advocating that process is unimportant. It’s very important. The change we’re advocating is that the client be considered as part of the equation. Here’s how we’re currently working to improve in this area:

  1. Our process is always in need of refinement, and we’re committed to continue working on it.
  2. We believe that a good process will never fully compensate for a bad client.
  3. We’re working on methods for quickly recognizing which clients we want to work with and those that aren’t a fit for us.

What do you think? Do you rely on a bulletproof process or are you more focused on being selective about who you work with? We’d love to hear your thoughts, advice, or objections in the comments below!