Working with Remote Clients
In recent years several CS 5150 projects have had clients who are not based in the Ithaca area. Many of these projects have been successful, but, if your client is not based locally, you need to pay particular attention to the methods of communication that you will use to work together.
Before the project begins
Good communication begins at the start of the project.
During the project
Email and messaging systems, such as Slack, are good for daily communication and information sharing within the team and with the client. Make sure that all messages are copied to every member of the team and stored in an online archive.
I strong recommend regular meetings with the client at least weekly with all team members present. These meetings can be simple telephone conference calls or can use video conferencing tools, such as Skype or Facetime. You will need a way to exchange documents with the client.
Moderating a conference call is an important professional skill. The moderator should announce the agenda items, call on the people who are to speak, and summarize decisions as they are made. Before the meetings, collect all the questions that you want to clarify with your client.
Presentations with remote clients are difficult. Usually the project team and the instructor will be in a meeting room in Ithaca and the client will be at a remote location. There are two fundamental needs:
Take care in selecting and setting up equipment.
At regular intervals, and certainly after each presentation, review how well the communications are working. Be prepared to make changes if things do not work smoothly.
Thanks to Ella Xue and Eliza Weaver for some of the ideas on this web page. If you have other suggestions, please let me know.