Summary and Thanks -- Sad Tale

Subject: Summary and Thanks -- Sad Tale
From: Matthew Bin <mattbin -at- HOTMAIL -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998 22:06:34 PDT

Two days ago I posted my long-winded and whiny tale about the
difficulties I've had in my current contracting position, with an ornery
SME who couldn't see any reason to re-write his wonderful system
document. I asked for help dealing with him, and help I received.

Thus, my long-winded summary and wrap-up.

**The Summary**

Most of the responses fell into three categories: the sweet-talk
strategy, the "what SME?" strategy, and the 2x4 (or "OK Corral")

The sweet-talk strategy was basically to get the SME on one's side, and
try to get him to contribute despite his ill-will. Although this didn't
work in my particular case, I think that one has to enter these
situations by at least trying it. Jesse James didn't walk into _every_
saloon with guns blazing.

The "what SME?" strategy was to ignore the SME completely and, time
permitting, reverse-engineer the system, taking what one can from the
way the system works and the other, lesser SMEs all around. However,
this solution is less effective in the system document than the user
guide, especially if the system is particularly complex. Luckily, the
system is in Access, and with my smattering of Visual Basic (even VBA
would be a big help), I was able to gain a lot just from messing about
with it.

The 2x4 strategy was to use whatever leverage was available to get the
jerk to spill the beans. This included keeping superiors informed and,
if possible, involved; to ask pointed, specific questions; and to lay it
on the line with the SME. The one point stressed by all of the 2x4
responses was to document all one's dealings with the bitter old fool.

One particularly interesting suggestion was to include the SME in
meetings or the review process. This allows the SME to save face
(because he's not be re-written, the piece is being re-written and he's
overseeing it), and thus might very well be effective in opening him up.
I think that this is a great idea and will try to implement it myself.

**The Thank-you**

I would like to thank every person who responded. I tried to e-mail
those who did respond to me (especially the off-list responses), and if
I missed anybody, I apologise. But I appreciate everyone's help and
support very much indeed. I am glad I brought my troubles to the
list--I have greatly profited from doing so.

A very sincere thank-you to everyone.


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