I am a freelance worker taking on a new project with a company I'm already familiar with. My boss (the company owner) previously gave me a website project to work at while he also assigns a project manager to review the progress. But with my latest project, the setup here is a little different.
My boss assigned to me this project as well. He's only in the office two days out of a week. After the first meeting with the client, I wondered who was the PM since I wasn't introduced to him/her. When I told my boss that in most cases, I'd rather report to the PM because it's easier and more accessible, that's when he informed me there that my PM is the same person as the client! I was a bit shocked. I didn't want to tell him right out that I find something very wrong with that arrangement, but I'm stuck with this project for now.
So I end up being in direct contact with the client once a week, which is good in a few cases, but am responsible for meeting him for extended periods while my boss only sits in for a few minutes. Especially for a project of a scope which will last for a few months, I feel like I'm doing the job of both a project manager and programmer.
I didn't quote him for the project- the PM/client sent the quote to my boss, and my boss is handling my payouts based on that.** He also controls the schedule for the project. So I'm trying to tread carefully with completing the goals so I don't get short-changed.
My biggest concern, though, is the lack of good communication. The PM/client is not very technically inclined, sometimes states goals that are subtly different from what I perceive, and asks for things that are beyond the means of the tools I'm working with. My boss is better at explaining the situation in a broad sense, but like I said he's not always available, and pretty slow at responding online.
Basically, there's a lack of a dedicated PM and there is sparse communication among me, my boss and the PM/client. How would I track my own progress and ensure better performance, and avoid misinterpreting the tasks for the project? I want to stay on a good pace with the communication I receive without feeling stuck or overwhelmed.
I prefer face to face contact. Everyone else in the office updates their progress by discussing with PMs working in the office on a daily basis, and their projects go more smoothly. My boss isn't interested in having one of them work on this project because he says it'll take a lot of time away from their current work. I want to force in more communication in this project but my boss isn't doing much to help.
[Edit] Well, here's an update. What ended up happening is that our client was demanding other features that turned out to be out of scope, and the CMS that we had to use didn't permit addition of these features so easily. My boss and I struck out some of his demands in the essence of time and budget, and last week the client/PM ended up being dissatisfied and cancelled the project indefinitely.
In the future I will stay away from such arrangements with the client doubling as a PM. I think it gives someone far too much control over the direction of a project.