How to build a reliable web company

It is increasingly easier everyday to start a web company. As passion leads to practice; practice sharpens skills and skills win projects, then projects turn into a business. It looks simple, supply meets demand and they live happy ever after, but it is hardly ever that easy.

When we started our web agency, Mobnia.com, 90% of our web projects were web re-designs or a call to rescue a failing web project - we were the kids you would call when your project was going bad or it was not delivering lasting returns on investment.

After 5 years and a hiatus from client work, we are back again, and we still see the same rescue requests again, this time surprisingly from bigger companies.

... looks like you are good but are you reliable?

It is never just about the skill, sure you could craft head turning designs and build purposeful interactions but there is more to it.

I remember going for a design pitch and at the end of our presentation the client, though obviously impressed, asked a question that still bothered him: "looks like you are good but are you reliable?"

This was five years ago, since then we had gone on to complete four web and mobile projects with this client but that question forever shaped the way we approached the business of the web.

In this time, reliability has grown to be part of our company culture and the primary yard stick with which we measure success. When something becomes part of a culture, it quickly becomes sub-conscious, and it is easy to forget why or how it came to stay in the first place.

...reliability is key for us and how we can repeat it everyday

Recently we decided to reflect again on why reliability is key for us and how we can repeat it everyday, especially as a lot of companies still struggle with this.

How to be reliable?

  • Plan - schedule everything, trade-offs are real. Say no frequently. **
  • Communicate with stake holders frequently. Communicate positive news with appropriate excitement and negative ones with apologies and reassurances.
  • Be consistent in execution - ship something new everyday on active projects.
  • Learn something new and improve everyday.
  • Have fun and take care of your health and rest.
  • Be data driven, don't panic when constraints close in. Evaluate and recommend action.

** our project management and collaboration product, Prowork helps with scheduling and resource allocation

Reliability is hard but it pays to be obsessed with it. Sometimes you will fail other times you'll win but making a conscious effort to be reliable helps you keep the wins ahead.

Francis Onwumere

I work with technology and business teams to make a significant difference in lives, one project at a time.

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