FWD: Re: Thoughts on working WITH developers...

Subject: FWD: Re: Thoughts on working WITH developers...
From: Anonymous User <anonfwd -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 1999 12:03:12 -0700

Name withheld upon request. Please reply on list.

*************************************************


I am TW consultant working for a large client organization on a software project
headed up by a contractor from another consulting company. Whew! The project
lead (the other contractor) has never worked with a TW, has little idea what we
do, is the SME, is the manager, and can't manage his way out of a paper bag
(yep, all the same person). We have no project plan, no milestones, no metrics,
just a final deadline that surprisingly enough has been extended repeatedly. My
attempts to bring order, even if only to my section of the project, have been
soundly rejected. I have no contract based on deliverables, and no control over
the contract entered into between my company and the client. Finally, I don't
have access to ANY other person on this project. ALL information is funnelled
through this guy.

On one hand, I was asked to "pretty up" (actually developmentally edit) a 120+
Word document with 2.5 hours in which to do it. After doing so, I politely
pointed out estimated time frames by level of edit, based on averaged project
metrics. The SME/project lead did not respond at all for three
days--essentially taking his document home and pouting.

On the other hand, I am writing (and rewriting and rewriting) a design document
for the developers, .....but the product has gone to test already. The guy is
still making changes to the documentation and to the product. He is giving
different, sometimes contradicting, information the few times we have a meeting,
is unavailable for most meetings except before and after work and over lunch,
often cancels carefully scheduled meetings the day of, and generally acts like a
brat.

The SME and I are senior-level consultants, so we both should know better.
Frankly, I just want to escape, learn, and hope that no one ever knows a TW
worked on the project. I am very sad, however, because not only will this guy
resent and deride TWs, but others on his project probably will as well. I have
been interviewing, cajoling, and jollying information out of people for years,
as a TW, as a research coordinator, and as a teacher, but I've run against a
stone wall.

I use e-mail to track decisions, keep written notes of all changes, verify
anything spoken with an e-mail in response, and use status reports with an
issues section to the actual department manager. Nothing's worked. If the SME
and I worked for the same company, I think we would have a discussion. The
developers in my home company and I have a good working relationship, based on
respect. I am, in fact, an SME in my own right. My home management, however,
is not interested in making a scene. Even though I have requested assignment to
another project, I will continue on this project indefinitely.

The sad thing is that within the client, a group of developers are waiting for
me to write user documentation for their product. It's done, tested, and ready
for production, but they don't feel it's complete without documentation. I have
been told to delay their project as long as the former project has TW needs.
Big sigh.

My initial mistake was not correctly assessing his skill and experience levels
and adjusting accordingly. Sometimes, however, no matter how hard you try or
what you do, you just aren't going to win. I'm just hoping to retain my
dignity.



Thanks for "listening" and if you have further suggestions, I'd love to hear
them.

Wearied-and-Resigned



(ps, please forgive typos, &c., as I'm working on the most recent rewrite of
this design document!)



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