TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
"Sharon Burton-Hardin" <sharonburton -at- earthlink -dot- net> writes about a Client
from Hell redux
| We are in a similar position. The client did not read the outlines - but
| approve them! - and so we delivered manuals they did NOT like - but were
| written to the outline! They would not give us detailed reviews about what
| they did not like and were very vague about what was wrong. After the
| failed shot at it, we have agreed to let them draft the manuals and then
| us take it from there. They also ignored the review time periods in the
| proposal and then express unhappiness about the fact that we are running
| late with the manuals they don't like.
Why didn't you halt the process when the client did not perform their
deliverable to you? Surely, even though they approved the outlines, when
conversations, queries, or drafts didn't match what was wanted from the
clients' end, someone had to say something--the client, a writer, et al.,
When reviews are late from the client, that's the time to raise a flag and
stop the process, investigate what's going on (or what isn't) and do a
| I am due to talk to them today. I will politely stress the contract and
| specifications. And that a large part of how we got here was because they
| ignored part of the process. And we got the result that we defined, which
| was not what they wanted. Ignoring the process ensures a result we don't
| like. That is why we have the process.
If I was the client, I'd take responsibility for my part in ignoring the
process. But from what you're telling us, you're also responsible for not
tracking more closely what was and wasn't going on. When a client is "vague
about what was wrong" and reviews come back that aren't detailed, you need
to address problems at that point, not this late in the process.
Having an outline, a process, a schedule, a list of deliverables is great,
but without regular, detailed contact and feedback from the client you're
just setting yourself up for anxiety and failure.