Professionality Standard #1
Poor communication will kill the effectiveness of the most talented team.
Responding to your clients’ messages in a timely fashion improves everyone’s experience. You’ll often work alongside on-site employees who can communicate without effort and see each other working. To build the same level of trust, you have to be exceptionally responsive.
Keep your communication simple and straightforward. Using clear language and explicitly stating your assumptions is key to communicating well. You’ll avoid unnecessary questions, or worse, incorrect assumptions, about what you said.
Your client and co-workers will work on the assumption that what you told them last time you spoke is true. Let them know if something changes after you’ve committed so they can adjust their plans.
Professionality Standard #2
Before you accept a project, ask the client for their objectives and preferences so you both know you found the right fit. If the project isn’t right for you, be kind and decline promptly. Both you and your client deserve the best possible experience, and it’ll only happen if you both approach the project with a positive mindset.
Take the client’s preferred hours and work style into consideration—you’ll act, think and contribute like a core member of their team, so be flexible and adapt to fit in.
Professionality Standard #3
Your client expects you to be an expert in your field. To exceed their expectations, you should continually improve your skills.
Understand what you do well, and what you don’t. Pretending like you know everything is another flavor of overpromising and under-delivering.
Professionality Standard #4
You and your work don’t exist in a vacuum—there’s a broader context to what you’re doing and what your client is hoping to accomplish.
Nobody can create good software without knowing the problems of the business and what they’re trying to solve with your code. Make sure you understand the business objectives of your team and evaluate your work in their context.
Many people waste a huge percentage of their time making improvements to things that won’t make the slightest bit of difference in the grand scheme of things. Great workers prioritize their time accordingly, and they can work for months without any direction and still produce useful work because they always understand what’s the next most important thing to do for the company.
You must be able to balance pragmatism and perfectionism—great workers have the ability to make both masterful/quick/dirty hacks and elegant/refined/robust solutions, and the wisdom to choose which is appropriate for a given problem.
Professionality Standard #5
Consider your client’s and co-workers feelings (and their plans) before making any decision.
Always keep two groups in mind—your application’s users and the rest of your team. They are the only ones affected by the decisions you make.
Humility goes hand in hand with empathy. Be open to the possibility (likelihood, even) that you are wrong. Know that you will always be learning and improving. Accept and own up to mistakes immediately.
Timing is everything. If you committed to something before your team and you know you can’t deliver, tell them as soon as possible. This will allow them to adjust their plans.
Professionality Standard #6
These days it's fashionable to talk about productivity, flow, etc., but great people spend 99% of their time doing useful work, and almost no time browsing the web or chatting on AIM. Everyone has ups and downs, but most people mistake lack of discipline for natural productivity fluctuations.
This essentially means that you will do exactly what you said you were going to do when you said you were going to do it. Sounds simple, but it’s the number one quality needed to build trust and credibility among your team and your clients.
Give clients a reason to want to hire you from the very first conversation they have. Small details complete the big picture—from how you respond to their emails to how you appear in conference calls.
Professionality Standard #7
Non-professionals don’t need to take responsibility for their own work. That’s left to the manager. They just get the job assigned to them and forget all about it when the clock hits 5 PM. A professional can’t accept this.
If your bug slips onto the production server, do everything in your power to fix it as soon as possible, even if it takes all night long. This separates you from the non-professionals and gets you a higher paycheck.
Every criticism should be listened to and learned from because that’s what makes you better at what you do, especially if you’re criticized by people who have way more experience than you do.
Attention to Detail
This is such a crucial skill because one of the ways we build trust with clients is by producing error-free deliverables, which shows that we’re thorough and our recommendations are solid. Ensuring there are no obvious mistakes in your work is essential and ultimately reflects on your entire team.
Professionality Standard #8
It’s the thought that counts. Contact your client shortly after they book you to show that you care about their experience.
Check in with them consistently throughout the project to make sure they know they can reach out to you any time they have a question.
Communicate honestly with your client is something goes wrong. Let them know how and when you’ll fix the issue and provide them with regular updates as remedies take place.
Above & Beyond
Go above and beyond to address your clients’ concerns. Never blame your mistakes on others and if you disagree with the client’s assessment of the situation, kindly explain your position.
If you can not honor your commitment to the client, offer them a refund. This way both of you can part ways amicably without having to mediate through us.