episode 71: Revisions and File Versioning – How Many?

  • Join Troy, Nolan and Sandy as they talk about revisions for a project. Are they included in the project scope, are revisions billable beyond the project scope, what is a revision, how many revisions are included in a project agreement, is there a point of too many revisions and how do revisions impact the project invoice?

What is considered a revision request or do we have a set number of revisions in a project? 

  • Troy: Any request after the design has begun. But there is a thin line when it is updates/revisions, or new content that can be added to the project, but not as a revision.
  • Nolan: A major request or set of requests
  • Sandy: I define “rounds of revisions” vs. individual revisions.

Do you have a preset number of  revisions included in the project agreement, or is it unlimited revisions until client is happy?

  • Nolan: Depends whether I’m working with a defined project scope and contract or just hourly.
  • Sandy: Three rounds planned and included in written scope / timeline.
  • Troy: Projects include up to 3 revision rounds, but it is per task. So template concepts, have 3 rounds, then template design 3 revisions, and the presentation formatting 3 revisions.

What happens when the client has reached the number of revisions included?

  • Nolan: If we missed something, it is not a charge, but if it is additional requests it will be added to project.
  • Sandy: I will add it to the final invoice.
  • Troy: The theory is the project invoice will be more to account for the additional designer time needed.

Do you have any client education tips or strategies you use to help limit revision requests?

  • Nolan: Package the feedback, client needs one point of contact.
  • Troy: Consolidate the feedback, even if it means holding for an hour or a day, so we get a more comprehensive list and can count all requests as a single revision round.
  • Sandy: All revisions need to come from a single contact.

How do you prefer to receive revision edits?

  • Sandy: In writing, in the PowerPoint or a PDF file
  • Nolan: For PPTs and PDFs, I’m slowly coming around to the built-in comment function
  • Troy: PDF comments are my favorite workflow. I appreciate when PPT comments are used, but they are not nearly as well rounded tool as Adobe PDF’s. For video feedback I really like using our Wipster account – including exporting a presentation to video as a proof and uploading for client feedback.

Have you ever been stuck on the design revision phase where the client just can’t be satisfied?

  • Nolan: Rarely, but it’s happened
  • Sandy: Yes. I had a project that lasted more than a year.
  • Troy: Unfortunately yes. I feel that in most cases it is that we have provided a design, and that is when the client starts seeing their vision does not match the project direction.

Ever nail something on the first pass and have no revisions to make?

  • Sandy: Recently a Word doc and presentation for the same company were instantly approved.
  • Nolan: Sometimes.
  • Troy: Yes, and it is funny because sometimes I really have no idea what the content is so I go into design mode and client says “perfect!”. Other times I know things are perfect to exactly the request and that is the project that gets stuck with revision-after-revision.

Do you do anything to make it easier for different designers to make revisions to the same file?  

  • Troy: We have a robust project management system that notes what everyone is responsible for, as well as ongoing entries of design completed and status of each task. For fast moving and file presentation projects we supplement with setting up OneNote tracking pages.
  • Sandy: I don’t have multiple designers at the same time, so not a problem here.
  • Nolan: One of my biggest frustrations is subcontracting an INDD file to a designer. Every designer does things slightly differently, and fixing those things later to my preferred way of formatting can be a hassle.

Who has stories about revision requests overlapping file versions and project flow going awry – or maybe the awry came up after the design was done and suddenly updates were found to be missing because they got lost in an overlapping version – or other revision and version disasters.

  • Troy: We call it “version control” and our rule is either we “control” the current version or the client “controls” the current version. When multiple people are working on the same file, not multi-authoring/collaboration, things go bad.
  • Sandy: I can think of an award ceremony where the client made tons of edits to a version while I was working on a second draft, unbeknownst to me. I was just finishing when I received the updated client version. I sent my version with a note to adjust or mark up this version.  The project budget didn’t allow me to search for their edits apply them to file I worked on.

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