Best Practices for a Successful Client-Vendor Content Partnership
This blog post was written by our partner A Pass Educational Group, LLC(A Pass). A Pass partners with publishers, K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, corporations, associations, and other educational/training stakeholders to provide customized, high-quality content. We emphasize quality and rigor in our content development and have structured our project management processes to ensure quality assurance through all phases of development. Developing educational content is a complex process with many moving parts. This process becomes even more complicated when a company does not have enough resources to complete their project. A client-vendor partnership can be a win-win for both parties, providing access to resources for the vendor and financial gain for the vendor. Further, with a vendor that also serves as a LMS hosting provider and an expert partner in eLearning, you're able to take advantage of a fully-managed training solution in order to provide the best learning experience possible for your users. We have found that there are several best practices for developing a successful relationship.
As with any partnership, the first step to creating a successful partnership is intentional communication. This involves planning and executing goals with the client in mind. It also involves rooting yourself in the reality of the vendor’s capabilities and expertise. This intentional communication must occur for the entire duration of the partnership, which includes:
- Before the project launch
- During development
- After delivery
When working together to create content, there are several key components to success . Let’s first examine what is needed before development.
Both parties need a mutual understanding of the scope of the project. Understanding the scope of the project will allow the client to know exactly what they need, such as writers, instructional designers, graphic designers, and web developers. In order to understand the scope of the project, the client and LMS vendor must answer the following questions:
- Who is the audience for the project?
- How many deliverables will you need?
- What are the components of a single deliverable?
- Will the vendor be responsible for development of both online and offline components?
An agreement on the schedule and budget of the project is another piece needed to develop a strong partnership. The vendor must know if the client has firm expectations going into the project or if they are expecting a bid from the vendor. The client and vendor must also agree on the workflow and determine how many edits are acceptable for each stage. It’s important that roles and responsibilities are defined before development. The client and vendor must decide who will provide project management, the subject matter expert and who will be responsible for copyediting. They must also agree on the process to use for collecting resources. The client must list what is needed for editing, art, and technology specifications. The client must also decide if they will provide work samples and acceptance criteria.
Since the groundwork has been laid out before development it should be fairly easy to continue the communication. It is important that a stakeholder from both the client and the vendor check in with one another throughout the process. Both sides need to be willing to own their contributions and to work on them.
Internal follow up between the vendor and client should proceed the project. This feedback can include a postmortem meeting where the stakeholders discuss what worked and what didn’t work. There are many components that go into a successful client-vendor relationship. The most important tool to remember is intentional communication. By making an effort to consistently communicate with one another you can avoid roadblocks and work through tricky situations together. Download this handy content vendor checklist to help you determine if working with a particular vendor is a good fit for you.