RE: Client from Hell redux

Subject: RE: Client from Hell redux
From: rebecca rachmany <rebecca -at- COMMERCEMIND -dot- com>
To: "'Ron Sering'" <rsering -at- excalib -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2000 12:51:20 +0200

There are several completely separate types of problems you face in dealing
with this client:

1. Not getting paid for your time. If you have bid on a per-page,
per-character, or flat rate, you are in trouble and you need to re-negotiate
with them. Point out the clauses in the contract which they didn't adhere
to, and explain to them why and how you are going to charge extra, and get
them to sign on it. If you are billing on an hourly basis, no sweat.

2. Not making deadline. Don't worry about this one. Their product won't be
on time, anyway, take my word for it. Just do your best to keep up with the
product and try to prioritize your work according to whatever parts of the
system seem most stable. Keep in very good touch with testers/QA department.
These are people who actually know whether the thing works or is likely to
work well enough to be released in the near future.

3. Not having enough work to keep yourself employed. When you are sitting
around waiting for an SME review, you aren't making money. As a contractor,
this means you need to have more than one contract at a time. It sometimes
means working long hours, and sometimes no hours, but that's the life of a
contractor. Don't let your problem of not having work to do affect your
customer. They don't care, anyway. If you do take another contract, however,
make clear to them that you have done so and give them clear deadlines (Say
to them: If you don't submit by the end of the month, there will be a
two-week delay because I'll be working for another client).

4. Not having a satisfied customer. Other than non-payment (covered by
others), this is the only justification I can think of for ditching a
customer. If you think that no matter what you do, the document is going to
suck OR the customer is going to be dissatisfied, get out. The cost to your
reputation is not worth it. Otherwise, you should do your best to get the
job done professionally. FWIW, I agree with most of what Andrew Plato said.
He gave excellent pointers on how to get the job done despite adversity, if
you can overlook the snide tone (or if, like me, you actually have an active
sense of humor and find the tone amusing).

Rebecca Rachmany
PO Box 920, Kfar Saba 44109
972-9-7642000 x217
Mobile: 050-900600
rebecca -at- commercemind -dot- com

>Hello whirlers! I've agreed to perform a contract for a client
>who has begun
>ignoring contract agreements almost from the git-go. This isn't due to
>unscrupulousness, but to poor (nonexistent) processes in place in their
>business, and a fragmented decision-making structure. The
>client like this. What does one do to retain a degree of
>professionalism and
>make sure that they understand that the inevitable cost
>overruns and missed
>deadlines are their problem, not mine?

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