Now *which* way is north???

Philip Morgan

I was in Nashville, TN last week for a business trip.I actually used to live there, from 1996 to 2003.While there last week, I walked everywhere I could. I wanted to see what had changed in the city, and being on foot is the best way for me to do that.I kept getting turned around while walking streets that I used to know like the back of my own hand.My point here is about case studies, not my knowledge of the Nashville streets. :)Don't let too much time pass before you turn a successful client engagement into a case study. The details can get fuzzy. Lost to time, even.In fact, I might suggest the following:Before the project starts, establish some baseline metrics with your client's help. What's the primary needle you are trying to move by building software for your client? How would you quantify that metric? (If you're not clear on that, you're likely to have problems with more than just case studies! There are numerous improvable metrics that aren't easily quantifiable. Ex: staff morale and efficiency. Try to roughly quantify these anyway, and read the first few chapters of How to Measure Anything by Douglas Hubbard for inspiration.)Also before the project starts, discuss the feasibility of doing a case study. Expect pushback if the client is a big one. Don't be inflexible; some clients just have policies about case studies you can't get around. But at least try to get agreement to do a case study if you're both pleased with the results.Before or during the project, decide on an appropriate amount of time for that needle to move.If it's a short time frame (improvement should be visible shortly after the project ends), then build doing a case study into the end of the project plan, just so you and your client are both reminded that it's part of the project.If it's a longer time frame before improvement may be visible (6 or more months after project completion), then set a reminder for yourself to circle back to your client to see if a case study makes sense.When the time comes, DO THE CASE STUDY. You most likely won't feel like doing it. You'll be busy with another client, you'll feel like it's an imposition on your previous client, you'll have imposter syndrome, or something. Do it anyway! You'll thank yourself later.Case studies don't have to be text. I love doing what I call "teaching case studies" where I ask previous clients of mine if they'd be willing to do a 20-minute recorded video conversation with me about one important thing they learned from my Positioning Accelerator Program. I like how this aligns incentives. They get to share something valuable with others, and it's not so overtly promotional in tone.-PWant help improving your positioning or marketing? I offer a small group program to help you do exactly that: http://positioningacceleratorprogram.comI work with people 1-on-1. If you're interested in learning more, follow this link:/11-retainer/Know a self-employed software developer who might benefit from specialization? Send 'em this free gift! Details here --> /referrals/