CUPID Studio: Flexibility is Key

Guest Blogger Will Stiefel ’13

With every client project, there are always obstacles to overcome. Throughout my experience working with clients, both in CUPID and internships, I have learned that you can never assume work will get done exactly as planned. In PWR’s CUPID Studio class, we spend almost the entire semester working with a client in order to complete a specific task for him or her. In the early steps of the project, it is always best to outline what you and your group plan to accomplish by a certain date. This scheduling of events, at first, seems easy and unquestionably doable. Yet, over the course of your work, many things will inevitably change.

When things do begin to change within a client project, stay calm and focused and do not worry that your work is not going exactly as planned. If anything these snags in the process of a project are more similar to post-graduate work than any other assignments you may have throughout your studies. That is what makes them valuable and essential for preparing you to work with others once you are out of school. The only way to learn how to overcome a problem is to first encounter one. Currently, in CUPID Studio we are working with a client who we have not had very strong communication with throughout the semester. Due to slow email conversation and lack of face-to-face communication, we have struggled to clarify exactly what our client is looking for from our team.  Initially, we had a distinct idea of what we were expected to do, but as time went on things changed. Different tasks were added, and other parts of our task were a little bit too hazy.

Instead of becoming overly upset or frustrated in this situation, we knew we had to remain professional. We still had promised our client the completion of the project, so we needed to remain persistent in our attempts to meet this goal. Therefore, we had to come to terms with our struggling means of communication. We decided to use various methods to reach out to our client, and eventually both parties were on the same wavelength about what was expected from each other.  Although you may assume that a client is most heavily focused on what task you may be doing for them, there is a good chance he or she has many other important things going on. In a time-restrained, client scenario there is no room to sit back and wait on the client to give you what you need. If you do not have what you need when you need it, then flexibility becomes an essential trait to the process. Our group encountered a situation along these lines and decided to make positive steps toward overcoming it rather than waiting around in frustration.

Therefore, we began completing every other part of our task that did not rely on information from our client such a working on a design template to which we could later add information. By the time the information did arrive, we did not feel overly pressured to meet our deadline. We knew we had already completed other tasks, thereby budgeting for time to add the initial information.

Currently we are in the process of completing our project, but in an entirely different fashion than we initially predicted. These situations always prove to be the most challenging, but also provide the best learning experiences.

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