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Can anyone share any software/techniques they use when showing clients graphical elements, storyboards, elements, etc. for the web project being worked on? I would like to have a way that the client can log in and see updates to what is going on and see the elements that have been created over time of the project. This could be status updates, creative elements, links to prototypes, wireframes, etc. Thank you in advance for any ideas that have worked best for you.

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migrated from Apr 14 '11 at 1:35

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Well, there are probably a bunch of good tools for sharing and presenting, from wikis to hosted balsamiq add-ins, but...

...have a way that the client can log in and see updates to what is going on

Is this really a good idea?

It is appropriate and highly desirable to present artifacts to clients so that they have the proper context of achievement and meaning.

But I see no advantage in the ability for clients to randomly see pieces of artifacts, works in progress, and project-management minutae with no context or purpose. I suspect this would confuse the client and result in a flurry of interruptions and unnecessary questions for you.

Think of it as a transaction: you have agreed to produce X for the client (by date Y). You will deliver when the transaction is complete. The intermediate state of the transaction is neither stable nor relevant. As long as you're not exceeding the timeframe excessively, there is no reason to inspect the intermediate state of the transaction. In fact, inspecting the intermediate state of the transaction without context will be confusing and ocunterproductive.

For example: You are hired to draw an X. Suppose you take a top-down, thorough approach, and draw the top of the X on the first day. Pleased with your progress and happy with the results so far, you go home. The next morning you find that the client has wandered by and left the following urgent, high-priority communication:

Dear pertrai1,

I hired your firm to create a 72-point X. I see that you are, in fact, 
creating a 36-point V. This is unacceptable. The contract is hereby 
terminated, and the initial payment cancelled. Expect a summons from 
our lawyers. I cannot comprehend how you could have botched up such a 
simple project in such a short time.

M. Patient

If, on the other hand, you had Skype'd Monsieur Patient to show him your results, explaining "The X is halfway done, do you like it so far?" - presented the intermediate results in context - then he would most likely be delighted with your speedy visible progress.

Bottom line: a convenient tool for presenting and sharing results (gotomeeting, whatever) is great. Allowing the client to wander into your workspace at will without a guide ...not so much.

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+1 Having scheduled progress demos is one thing, but the client isn't the PM - and I doubt they want to be either. – Steve Evers Apr 14 '11 at 3:10
Points very well taken, and maybe I could have said stated this differently. What if this was not for a client but for our company and I wanted to place for senior level management and key stackholders of different parts of the project to have one place to come and have one place where all the project information is stored, remotely? Things like functionality plans, site maps, storyboards, etc. This would not necessarily be for clients but for internal use? I have seen others in the past and did not know if they were made from scratch and all work was added manually. – pertrai1 Apr 14 '11 at 9:07
@pertrai1: a wiki on your intranet would do the job, but again be wary of non-technical people prowling around unescorted. – Steven A. Lowe Apr 14 '11 at 15:03

One method when using Jira (as a program management tool) and the Agile methodology, is the built-in burndown chart. This is a visual representation showing:

  • the difference between the estimated time and the actual development time
  • tasks that have been completed in the current sprint
  • the amount of time spent on each task and the total amount of time spent in the sprint
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Not a bad idea, but burndowns are a PM tool, so depending on the client that might be too much information for them. – Steve Evers Apr 14 '11 at 3:07

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