Why My Hair Is Getting White

Yesterday (Friday) a client finally got back to me with a decision I have been trying to get them to finalize for at least two months.  This app was defined as a daily management report but their needs have evolved as we’ve gone along and we have fine-tuned their needs over and over again.  That is a great process if you want what you need rather than what you asked for.

I am not sure if this is the correct or final decision, but it is the core critical piece that will hopefully allow me to finally build the application.

But the CFO who sent me the decision and the answers ina file says they want the application done BY MONDAY !!  I’m serious.  He has been told that by higher-ups who have no idea what’s involved and are upset with the delays – that are totally process and technology at their end.

This has happened too many times to count and when you’re dealing with that level of manager they don’t like “push-back”… 

The alternative of a formal, detailed spec with constant on-going change notices is probably the only way to counter this but doesn’t strike me as in their interests – especially when they don’t really know what they want when they start.

It’s soooooo frustrating when all you want t do is help people.


About Biggus Dickus

Dick is a consultant in London, ON Canada who specializes in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office Development.
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2 Responses to Why My Hair Is Getting White

  1. Mathias says:

    Collecting iterative feedback and refining an application along the path is usually a better process; the complete upfront design path is going to work only if everybody got it right from the beginning, and if nothing changes, which isn’t exactly a safe assumption. Better get what you want late, than something useless on time.
    It sounds to me that you need a “project champion” in the client organization; just like one project manager should be accountable for the project progress on the development side, there needs to be a “trusted partner” on the other side, who represents the client in discussions, talks to his organization to make sure you get answers – and defends it internally. Can the person(s) you worked with iteratively step up and explain to their colleagues why this change of direction is not a good idea?
    Good luck with this – it’s not a fun place to be.

    • Biggus Dickus says:

      Yes – there is always a “Champion” for every project. The problem with this kind of project though is that the entire process is based on “best intentions” and trust. When the ultimate consumer of the technology is high up in a Corporation they are prone to this kind of “Decisiveness”. Their job is to be decisive and when they drop that decision most often your “Champion” has to choose between your project and keeping his/her boss happy.

      This is one of the biggest risks of what we do. So this is an argument for incremental billing. In this scenario I expected this to happen as decisions were delayed and delayed, not becase I don’t trust the people I’m working with but because that’s the way it always goes when you’re working with senior managers.

      One of my favoutie phrases is “I flew too close to the sun”…. as if my wings melted :-). This is what happens when you deal at that level and you just have to be ready for it and expect it and live with it. But it doesn’t make me feel any better …

      Talking about it here is intended to give others who do what I do an undertsanding of the issues I deal with every day. This is a great career but we who do this have to be mindful of the realities – and I am glad to be able to discuss them with those who come here in the hopes it helps them cope or prepares them for the realities of the biz.

      I’d be glad to hear other’s anonymous experience. Sure, I can’t really stay anonymous but I understand that reality when I talk here. If I don’t talk about REAL issues and REAL incidents then I wouldn’t be very helpful to anyone.. if I am at all :-)..


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