Re: Client from Hell redux

Subject: Re: Client from Hell redux
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Stephen Arrants <stephena -at- compbear -dot- com>, Techwrl-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2000 14:52:06 -0700 (PDT)

> So let me get this straight...when a deliverable that's necessary isn't
> forthcoming, go ahead on the wrong path?

No - go ahead on ANY path. Action, even action in the wrong direction, can
accomplish more than inaction. Sitting on your hands has never once in the
history of the earth accomplished anything.

> | Ram the damn project through and quit waiting for approval. You know the
> | cliche: "it is easier to ask for forgiveness then to be a sniveling little
> | weasel begging for approval."
> Where do you read this from my response? Keeping folks informed, checking
> the process and deliverables isn't begging, it isn't sniveling, it is good
> practice.

The most important deliverable when you're working with a client is you getting
the job done. All other deliverables are secondary. Yeah, I've had clients
bumble around on edits. I am not saying don't set deadlines or be proactive.
But the way you made it sound you should stop everything and call a General
Assembly of the UN to discuss the matter. That is a waste of time.

If my client wants to blow their foot off with a gun, I will stop and tell them
that that isn't wise, it will hurt, and cause a mess. But if they tell me
they're dead set on this, then I'll do anything I can to help them efficiently
and effectively blow their foot off.

> | When a client is lazy with me, I start hammering them. I show up
> unnannouced at
> | a cubicle, send lots of emails, phone calls. Anything to keep the job
> moving
> | forward. Stopping work, folding your arms, and having a little tantrum
> because
> | your client didn't respond to you is immature and wasteful.
> As usual, Andrew, you're a poor marksman, hitting the broad side of the barn
> when a smaller target will do...
> Raising a flag to the one or two people who can affect the process has been
> effective for me. Congratulations, though, on your way of doing it with
> multiple emails, poping up from under their desks, etc. Do you also follow
> them into the rest room if they run away?

No, I don't have to. I just solve the problems on my own. If I don't know how
something works, I figure it out.

Case in point, I had a client that was pissing around getting me access to some
servers. Tired of their ineffectual bureaucracy I walked into the server room
and added myself to the NT domain as a domain administrator. Yeah, they were
pissed when they found out two weeks later, but I got the job done on time. And
they quickly forgot about that when I showed them my rock solid documents that
I wrote in 1/4 the time most consultants took.

It was a lot easier to say, "I am sorry, I won't do that again." then to sit
there begging their Nazi system admin to spend 1.5 seconds to add me to the

Raise the flag Stephen and then get back to work. I am not saying you
shouldn't raise flags. I am saying, don't raise the flag and expect everybody
to come running to your aid. You need to be resourceful and get the job done in
spite of a less than ideal working environment.

> You seem to want to make consulting and
> contracting an adversarial process, a "my way or the highway" deal. Fine, if
> that works for you, but I don't know many companies that would put up with
> that.

No, it is adversarial. It is assertive. "SOME WAY or MY WAY." If my client
wants me to follow some exquisite, time sucking process - "yes sir, anything
you want (and will pay for)" But, most are not sure what they want. So, you
have to assert yourself and your ideas and hope to drive them some place.

What causes problems is when people sit around waiting for approval to do
something. Do your client the biggest favor you can - SAVE THEM SOME MONEY.

Andrew Plato

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