What Would Andrew Do (WWAD)

Subject: What Would Andrew Do (WWAD)
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2002 13:25:17 -0800 (PST)

"David Knopf" wrote...

> OK. So how would you handle it, Andrew? You've entered into a fixed
> price contract to develop 5 user manuals over 6 weeks. You and your
> client have agreed that for $x, you will produce 23 specific
> deliverables. Five weeks into the project, your client tells you they
> will not accept anything less than 42 deliverables, which will take you
> substantially more time and resources to complete, and they will not
> agree to pay one penny more or to extend the schedule by even one day.
> What "highly modified" processes do you adopt? How you adapt to the
> client? How do you solve the problem? Do you agree to do the extra work
> for free, or do you have some magic way of adjusting the process so that
> you can do all the extra work within your original budget?

Yeah, I roll up my sleeves and get the job done. But where is the real
fault here? To date, I've never had a client change deliverables that
radically, or if they did we negotiated something. Because I spent the
time up front to figure out what was needed, I always had my butt covered.
I suppose if the client changed the deliverables, and the change made
sense to me, I would go along with them. If they changed everything and
it didn't make sense, I would probably ask for more money as well.

But we are all assuming that due dilligence was taken in this instance,
but we don't know. Before we all jump to the "clients hate us and abuse
us" let's remember that there is another side to this tale. And we don't
know that other side AT ALL. I really find it very distasteful when people
start broadcasting the details of complex disputes, when we as the reader
have NO insight to the viewpoint of the other side.

I am sure Elna did her job. But, I am compelled to be the jerk here and
say: but what about the other side of this coin? What about the client's
needs? What about their concerns? What does Elna's scenario tell us about
what a client needs?

We can fortify ourselves professionally and all stand behind Elna and her
CFH. But the fact is, we don't learn ANYTHING from closing ranks and
assuming what we are being told is true. We learn by considering the what
the other side is doing and trying to understand their motivations. We can
learn by analysis of a situation.

Which is why I suggested to Elna she reconsider posting such details of
her business. Because it invites analysis. Which is good for all of us,
but I fear it might not be good for Elna.

I roll my eyes when people say "well, what would YOU do Andrew, huh, huh,
c'mon ya big bully, tell us your brilliant wisdom," as if to egg me on and
draw me into making an ass out of myself.

David, I DON'T KNOW what I would do. Probably cry and eat a lot of
cookies. I do know that all disputes and all problems have more than one
side. I also believe that all problems have a solution. And just because
you don't know what that solution is, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I
think virtually all lawsuits are the result of miscommunication. And I
think my lawyer pals would back me up on that axiom.

Without knowing the other side of Elna's dispute, I am forced to speculate
and extrapolate. What I see somebody being rigid about their process. And
rigidity is not always a good business model.

Call me a doormat if you will. Maybe I am too lenient with my clients.
But, I'd rather have a peaceful conclusion to a project and get paid then
have a catastrophe. We all run our businesses differently.

Andrew Plato

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RE: Round #4263 with the Client From Hell: From: David Knopf

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