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The Attract Group team attended the Web Camp Conference 2016. Since I’ve just recently been promoted to the role of project manager, it was a valuable experience for me, with much knowledge gained.

I returned from the event with detailed notes regarding everything I had learned from the excellent presenters, which I am confident will help me improve in my position as project manager.

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There were a total of eight conference presentations. After every two presentations we were given a break to allow us to refresh ourselves and prepare for the next set of presentations.

I attended a very interesting seminar on the “Stupid” customer, given by Alexander Demura of Data Art. Oh, this is a sensitive issue on some projects! Although customers are not necessarily stupid, they can be too stubborn for their own good and it is important to know how to deal with customers properly.

This subject was also covered in the short business training movie The Expert: It’s well done and I recommend that everyone who has to deal with customers watch it.

It would seem “stupid” customer just scoff and give you unrealistic tasks, but as it turned out, everything is doable

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What is the reason sometimes for the difficulties that can occur between customers and web design companies – not only between customer and company, but also between the company and the customer?

First of all, the client has a vision in mind for his or her website, which can be unrealistic, while the design team may not take the time to fully understand what the client wants. The customer looks the site from the standpoint of the business, and the developer look at it from the standpoint of the project architecture.

The programmer looks at and finds the causal relationship and ideas of the site, and what the client actually wants may not always seem appropriate to him. Developers often focus only on writing code and forget about the needs of the business – what is “user friendly” to the developer may not be “user friendly” to the client!

In this case, it’s necessary for a “translator” to mediate between the client and the design team. This would be the project manager.

The project manager must become acquainted with the customer and his company and learn the business objectives. Without an understanding of the client’s business is impossible to make a good product and to change the opinion of the “dumb” customer.

I also found the seminar “And lice, and Fleas” (Dmitry Kanevsky, Gorilla.com.ua) very helpful.

Kanevsky’s presentation was about how it is not always possible to identify the “root of evil” on a project, especially if several problems are occurring – it makes it difficult to find the root cause.

He pointed out that “cleaning up the symptoms” does not “cure” the cause. It’s necessary to track down the cause and solve, or cure, it!

Eugene Labunskiy (Ciklum) spoke of irresponsibility. He depicted the levels of apathy in the form of a pyramid. At the base of the pyramid is apathy, then apathy and customer management, process apathy, apathy command, and on the top of the pyramid – the personal apathy. Then he tied the irresponsibility and apathy to the examples, and showed how important it is to deal with apathy at all levels.

The conference atmosphere was pleasant and friendly. The coffee breaks helped us to “digest” the large amount of information we were given, and also to communicate with our peers and to ask the speakers questions in a more casual setting.

I found this Conference very valuable and will be continuing to attend such events in the future.