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I'm going to be renovating a client website in the near future. However, I had a lot of manual processes with my first client that I'd like to change, particularly with my back-end organization of things and how I communicate with the client.

One improvement that I plan on making is maintaining an up-to-date list of specifications and progress and making it available to my client through some medium (either through email or through a password-protected area of my site).

I have the two things to consider:

  1. I plan on emailing a status update on a weekly basis, and
  2. I may not have an even amount of time to work week-to-week.

Considering that, should I share progress on specific specifications with the client, or should it be more of a "general idea" of progress (as would be normally communicated in a status update email)? How detailed is too detailed?

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I usually tend to go with something in between a more general or detailed approach. So, then an option would be to go with a more component/task based progress mail. E.g.

  • Slideshow: about halfway. High Priority. Probably finished by tomorrow.
  • Layout news detail page: Normal priority. Postponed till next week.
  • Responsiveness: Minor issues on tablet and phone.

You can also list any questions per component/task. This way the client has a better overview and also the opportunity to re-adjust priorities.

But as dougp01 said; in the end it's up to the client on what they prefer.

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Depends on the client.

You may even consider creating some sort of a client rating on how much detail to provide. A simple three point system of A, B, and C should do fine. Use A for those who want a lot and C for those how really are only interested in the bottom line or finished product. Keep in mind, the more detail you provide, gives the client more opportunity to "manage" your time. This could be good or bad, depending.

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