Client Onboarding

Client Onboarding

Contact and Initial Response


Client makes contact, whether via or otherwise. This can be with any member. Eg. someone may message a member on meta. Or someone may send a member an email. If the message is to, any PM member (who will all be a part of the contact group) can take the initial response.

Initial response

The “initial response” is a context-setting exercise. The following items should be covered:

  • What type of work we do (if needed)

  • Whether we have availability.

    • The answer to this currently is yes. Longer-term, this will be determined by overall capacity of members v current and future assignments.
  • How we work with clients and How we charge.

  • What the next steps are. The next steps are:

    1. Work with a PM member on pinning down the specification. This is assigned a billable hours amount and is only optional in very straight-forward cases. This consists of:

      • Working with the PM member in a private category on our Discourse; and

      • Optionally having a call.

    2. Setttling on a quote and contract

    3. Doing the work

    4. Testing and Deployment

Here's a real life example of an initial response

Hey Philippe,

Thanks for reaching out. Yes this is something we can help with.

I recently helped out Wikimedia (the foundation that runs Wikipedia) with a similar job, i.e. defining sql queries for their specific use case.

The way we can proceed from here is:

  1. We give you a private category on our Discourse ( where we can discuss and manage your work.
  2. You lay out in some detail what you want done in a topic in your category. We work with you to refine this into a specification. If needed we can have a video call to clarify what you’re trying to achieve.
  3. We give you a quote for the specification based on how many billable hours it will take us, and the applicable rate. Our standard rate is $175 USD per hour.
  4. If you’re happy with the specification and quote, we sign a contract containing the specification and the quote.
  5. We schedule the work in, assign a developer (e.g. me) to work on it and give you a due date.
  6. The developer communicates with you as they are completing the work, particularly to clarify any unforseen issues.
  7. Once the work is complete, we test it with you on our, or your, staging servers before we deploy the work into your production environment.

There’s a full description of the process here: How we work with clients

If that sounds good to you, I’ll go ahead and get you set up on and we can get started.



Assignment and Handoff to PM


After initial response is given and responded to positively (i.e. there is an indication the prospective client wants to proceed), the member with whom contact is made assigns the prospective client off to a PM member based on

  • How much work each PM member has
  • Whether or how close PM member is to monthly $ goal
  • Availability and interest of PM

The initial responder can assign themselves if they’re a PM member. Unless a self-assignment is made a Handoff is required.


The handoff itself should proceed as follows:

  1. Communicate with prospective client (typically this is in response to their response to the “Initial Response”), and loop in the PM member, mentioning:

    • We’re excited they’re looking to proceed
    • Who PM member is
  2. The PM member then immediately follows up with the prospective client to make first contact and start the “Project Development” process described in “How we work with Clients”.

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