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OT somewhat: What do you wish clients understood about contracting/consulting?

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  • estherschindler
    Sorry for the OT post but I m positive that several people here are consultants... or work with them. I m writing another article in my 5 Things the CIO
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 27, 2007
      Sorry for the OT post but I'm positive that several people here are consultants... or work
      with them.

      I'm writing another article in my "5 Things the CIO should know..." series, which includes
      "7 things the CIO should know about telecommuting" (http://www.cio.com/article/
      108501), "5 things the CIO should know about software requirements" (http://
      www.cio.com/article/29903), and "...about fighting spam" (http://www.cio.com/article/
      28830).

      This time, I'm asking contractors and consultants about their experiences with clients --
      in particular, with the upper management at the client company. I'd love to include your
      input.

      There's just one question to answer: If you could get the (client) boss(es) to understand
      JUST ONE THING about computer consulting and contracting, what would it be?

      Or, to put the same question another way: If you were given a single wish of something to
      change (about a current or past client) what would it be?

      If you're an active consultant or IT contractor, I'm sure you have more than one response.
      But by asking you to give me only ONE answer, I can prioritize the issues that matter most
      to consultants and contractors. (I spent several years in that role myself, so believe me... I
      have my own list!) I'll turn the responses into a list of the top items, and -- since this is for
      CIO.com -- in this case the upper management at your client might actually read it. If I do
      my job well, he or she might actually learn from it.

      If you aren't a consultant, that's okay -- I'll still be happy for your input. Because there are
      plenty of problems that consulting and contracting causes for IT staff. (I'd give a few
      examples here but I don't want to make suggestions that cause you to say, "Yeah, just like
      that!")

      In either case, your "just ONE thing" can be something tiny and annoying, or a wide
      generality. This is about what gets *your* shorts twisted in a knot; you don't have to worry
      about whether it bugs other people too.

      Anecdotes are wonderful. Please, share horror stories.

      Two important requests:

      * PLEASE do not make your single answer a rant about outsourcing overseas. We have
      plenty of material on that subject already and it's entirely predictable. I'm much more
      interested in writing this article with specific advice that's more, well, close to home.

      * Remember that I'm writing an article and I need to quote my sources. I generally can't get
      away with anonymous quotes. So please *please* give me your name, company name ("self
      employed consultant" is fine though your company name is better), some idea of your
      company size (that is, a solo developer may have different perspective from a larger
      consulting firm), your personal role (i.e. "a consultant who specializes in web
      development" or "a Java programmer on staff"), number of years consulting, and location.
      If you refer to a client, supply some kind of description for credibility (i.e. "a large
      insurance company in the midwest" if you don't feel comfortable saying, "When I was a
      consultant at State Farm..."). At a minimum, send me a private e-mail message at esther at
      bitranch dot com. The point is that I need to provide references, or the article lacks
      credibility.

      I'll check back here -- because I'm sure this will be a fun topic for the community to
      discuss -- but I'd also be happy to hear from you privately.

      I'll collect input until, oh, sometime next week. Say, the end of July. Then I'll collate the
      responses and turn them into something (arguably) brilliant to which you can point
      prospective clients.


      Esther Schindler
      Senior Online Editor, CIO.com
      http://advice.cio.com/blogs/youre_the_boss
    • Phlip
      ... That short-term incremental time estimates are priceless and long-term big requirements up front time estimates are worse than useless. -- Phlip
      Message 2 of 10 , Jul 27, 2007
        estherschindler wrote:

        > There's just one question to answer: If you could get the (client) boss(es) to understand
        > JUST ONE THING about computer consulting and contracting, what would it be?

        That short-term incremental time estimates are priceless and long-term
        "big requirements up front" time estimates are worse than useless.

        --
        Phlip
        http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/9780596510657/
        ^ assert_xpath
        http://tinyurl.com/23tlu5 <-- assert_raise_message
      • Steven Gordon
        I would wish that upper management would be more open to the possiblity that sometimes they are part of the problem. In other words, when upper management sees
        Message 3 of 10 , Jul 27, 2007
          I would wish that upper management would be more open to the possiblity that sometimes they are part of the problem. 

          In other words, when upper management sees a software development problem, assumes that the problems must be due to how the software developers and their immediate managers are doing their job, and calls in consultants to help them do their jobs better, sometimes the problem is not in the development sphere.  If upper management cannot conceive that they might be doing the things that are causing some of their problems, there is no way to fix the problems.

          Given your skills, I hope you can find a more tactfully way to express this.

          Steve

          On 7/27/07, estherschindler < esther@...> wrote:

          Sorry for the OT post but I'm positive that several people here are consultants... or work
          with them.

          I'm writing another article in my "5 Things the CIO should know..." series, which includes
          "7 things the CIO should know about telecommuting" (http://www.cio.com/article/
          108501), "5 things the CIO should know about software requirements" (http://
          www.cio.com/article/29903), and "...about fighting spam" ( http://www.cio.com/article/
          28830).

          This time, I'm asking contractors and consultants about their experiences with clients --
          in particular, with the upper management at the client company. I'd love to include your
          input.

          There's just one question to answer: If you could get the (client) boss(es) to understand
          JUST ONE THING about computer consulting and contracting, what would it be?

          Or, to put the same question another way: If you were given a single wish of something to
          change (about a current or past client) what would it be?

          If you're an active consultant or IT contractor, I'm sure you have more than one response.
          But by asking you to give me only ONE answer, I can prioritize the issues that matter most
          to consultants and contractors. (I spent several years in that role myself, so believe me... I
          have my own list!) I'll turn the responses into a list of the top items, and -- since this is for
          CIO.com -- in this case the upper management at your client might actually read it. If I do
          my job well, he or she might actually learn from it.

          If you aren't a consultant, that's okay -- I'll still be happy for your input. Because there are
          plenty of problems that consulting and contracting causes for IT staff. (I'd give a few
          examples here but I don't want to make suggestions that cause you to say, "Yeah, just like
          that!")

          In either case, your "just ONE thing" can be something tiny and annoying, or a wide
          generality. This is about what gets *your* shorts twisted in a knot; you don't have to worry
          about whether it bugs other people too.

          Anecdotes are wonderful. Please, share horror stories.

          Two important requests:

          * PLEASE do not make your single answer a rant about outsourcing overseas. We have
          plenty of material on that subject already and it's entirely predictable. I'm much more
          interested in writing this article with specific advice that's more, well, close to home.

          * Remember that I'm writing an article and I need to quote my sources. I generally can't get
          away with anonymous quotes. So please *please* give me your name, company name ("self
          employed consultant" is fine though your company name is better), some idea of your
          company size (that is, a solo developer may have different perspective from a larger
          consulting firm), your personal role (i.e. "a consultant who specializes in web
          development" or "a Java programmer on staff"), number of years consulting, and location.
          If you refer to a client, supply some kind of description for credibility (i.e. "a large
          insurance company in the midwest" if you don't feel comfortable saying, "When I was a
          consultant at State Farm..."). At a minimum, send me a private e-mail message at esther at
          bitranch dot com. The point is that I need to provide references, or the article lacks
          credibility.

          I'll check back here -- because I'm sure this will be a fun topic for the community to
          discuss -- but I'd also be happy to hear from you privately.

          I'll collect input until, oh, sometime next week. Say, the end of July. Then I'll collate the
          responses and turn them into something (arguably) brilliant to which you can point
          prospective clients.

          Esther Schindler
          Senior Online Editor, CIO.com
          http://advice.cio.com/blogs/youre_the_boss


        • Brian Marick
          Michael Bolton wrote a dynamite article that begins: AS A CONSULTANT, I’M OFTEN BROUGHT INTO NEW SITUATIONS—COMPANIES OR departments that are unfamiliar
          Message 4 of 10 , Jul 27, 2007
            Michael Bolton wrote a dynamite article that begins:

            "AS A CONSULTANT, I’M OFTEN BROUGHT INTO NEW SITUATIONS—COMPANIES OR
            departments that are unfamiliar to me. Since my job is to explain
            to companies how to be more productive, and since my services
            are being paid for, I like to be self-sufficient and effective from the
            moment I arrive. Generally, the company has a reasonable idea of
            why they’ve hired me, and someone has explained to me the prob-
            lem that they’re trying to solve. Often that problem relates to pro-
            ductivity. However, it can sometimes take days or even weeks be-
            fore I can be productive, because the organization isn’t quite ready
            to handle new arrivals."

            That should *not* be below the radar screen of a CIO. Everywhere
            around us are companies whose CIOs can spout Lean phrases about
            driving out waste with the best of 'em. What they don't see is that
            the first half day or more of my week at their company is spent
            discovering that there's no meeting room for an introductory session,
            no place to pair, a key person is out for a dentist appointment, no
            one's downloaded tools yet, etc. That's a canary in a coal mine for
            me: I'm not the only person whose time is being wasted.

            <http://www.developsense.com/articles/Are%20You%20Ready.pdf>


            On Jul 27, 2007, at 2:57 PM, estherschindler wrote:

            > Sorry for the OT post but I'm positive that several people here are
            > consultants... or work
            > with them.
            >
            > I'm writing another article in my "5 Things the CIO should know..."
            > series, which includes
            > "7 things the CIO should know about telecommuting" (http://
            > www.cio.com/article/
            > 108501), "5 things the CIO should know about software
            > requirements" (http://
            > www.cio.com/article/29903), and "...about fighting spam" (http://
            > www.cio.com/article/
            > 28830).
            >
            > This time, I'm asking contractors and consultants about their
            > experiences with clients --
            > in particular, with the upper management at the client company. I'd
            > love to include your
            > input.
            >
            > There's just one question to answer: If you could get the (client)
            > boss(es) to understand
            > JUST ONE THING about computer consulting and contracting, what
            > would it be?
            >
            > Or, to put the same question another way: If you were given a
            > single wish of something to
            > change (about a current or past client) what would it be?
            >
            > If you're an active consultant or IT contractor, I'm sure you have
            > more than one response.
            > But by asking you to give me only ONE answer, I can prioritize the
            > issues that matter most
            > to consultants and contractors. (I spent several years in that role
            > myself, so believe me... I
            > have my own list!) I'll turn the responses into a list of the top
            > items, and -- since this is for
            > CIO.com -- in this case the upper management at your client might
            > actually read it. If I do
            > my job well, he or she might actually learn from it.
            >
            > If you aren't a consultant, that's okay -- I'll still be happy for
            > your input. Because there are
            > plenty of problems that consulting and contracting causes for IT
            > staff. (I'd give a few
            > examples here but I don't want to make suggestions that cause you
            > to say, "Yeah, just like
            > that!")
            >
            > In either case, your "just ONE thing" can be something tiny and
            > annoying, or a wide
            > generality. This is about what gets *your* shorts twisted in a
            > knot; you don't have to worry
            > about whether it bugs other people too.
            >
            > Anecdotes are wonderful. Please, share horror stories.
            >
            > Two important requests:
            >
            > * PLEASE do not make your single answer a rant about outsourcing
            > overseas. We have
            > plenty of material on that subject already and it's entirely
            > predictable. I'm much more
            > interested in writing this article with specific advice that's
            > more, well, close to home.
            >
            > * Remember that I'm writing an article and I need to quote my
            > sources. I generally can't get
            > away with anonymous quotes. So please *please* give me your name,
            > company name ("self
            > employed consultant" is fine though your company name is better),
            > some idea of your
            > company size (that is, a solo developer may have different
            > perspective from a larger
            > consulting firm), your personal role (i.e. "a consultant who
            > specializes in web
            > development" or "a Java programmer on staff"), number of years
            > consulting, and location.
            > If you refer to a client, supply some kind of description for
            > credibility (i.e. "a large
            > insurance company in the midwest" if you don't feel comfortable
            > saying, "When I was a
            > consultant at State Farm..."). At a minimum, send me a private e-
            > mail message at esther at
            > bitranch dot com. The point is that I need to provide references,
            > or the article lacks
            > credibility.
            >
            > I'll check back here -- because I'm sure this will be a fun topic
            > for the community to
            > discuss -- but I'd also be happy to hear from you privately.
            >
            > I'll collect input until, oh, sometime next week. Say, the end of
            > July. Then I'll collate the
            > responses and turn them into something (arguably) brilliant to
            > which you can point
            > prospective clients.
            >
            >
            > Esther Schindler
            > Senior Online Editor, CIO.com
            > http://advice.cio.com/blogs/youre_the_boss
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >

            -----
            Brian Marick, independent consultant
            Mostly on agile methods with a testing slant
            www.exampler.com, www.exampler.com/blog
          • estherschindler
            Hey, why be tactful? It s often most useful to whack an exec on the side of the head. And it s one reason that this sort of article can be useful... it isn t
            Message 5 of 10 , Jul 27, 2007
              Hey, why be tactful? It's often most useful to whack an exec on the
              side of the head. And it's one reason that this sort of article can be
              useful... it isn't YOU worrying that if you speak your mind, you'll
              lose your gig.

              But as a reminder: folks, please give me some way to refer to you in
              the article! (We can discuss it privately if necessary.)

              E

              --- In agile-testing@yahoogroups.com, "Steven Gordon" <sgordonphd@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > I would wish that upper management would be more open to the
              possiblity that
              > sometimes they are part of the problem.
              >
              > In other words, when upper management sees a software development
              problem,
              > assumes that the problems must be due to how the software developers and
              > their immediate managers are doing their job, and calls in
              consultants to
              > help them do their jobs better, sometimes the problem is not in the
              > development sphere. If upper management cannot conceive that they
              might be
              > doing the things that are causing some of their problems, there is
              no way to
              > fix the problems.
              >
              > Given your skills, I hope you can find a more tactfully way to
              express this.
              >
              > Steve
            • Samuel Crescêncio
              Hi Esther, I think the best thing to say about contracts is that it would be better if they never left the drawers. Contracts are just a formalization about
              Message 6 of 10 , Jul 27, 2007
                Hi Esther,

                I think the best thing to say about contracts is that it would be better if they never left the drawers. Contracts are just a formalization about what two or more people/companies have dealt in order to collaborate together.

                As the main goal of collaboration is to generate value for both parts, a clear and open work environment concerned with the results will surely increase the chances to both sides succeed.

                If contracts need to leave the drawers, collaboration is no longer happening, most likely, for a long time already.

                Best regards,
                --
                -------------------------------------------------------------------
                Samuel Crescêncio
                CEO - Chief Executive Officer
                OnCast Technologies - Agile solutions
                http://www.oncast.com.br
                samuel.crescencio@...
                Phone +55 48 32392275

                -------------------------------------------------------------------


                On 7/27/07, estherschindler <esther@...> wrote:

                Sorry for the OT post but I'm positive that several people here are consultants... or work
                with them.

                I'm writing another article in my "5 Things the CIO should know..." series, which includes
                "7 things the CIO should know about telecommuting" (http://www.cio.com/article/
                108501), "5 things the CIO should know about software requirements" (http://
                www.cio.com/article/29903), and "...about fighting spam" ( http://www.cio.com/article/
                28830).

                This time, I'm asking contractors and consultants about their experiences with clients --
                in particular, with the upper management at the client company. I'd love to include your
                input.

                There's just one question to answer: If you could get the (client) boss(es) to understand
                JUST ONE THING about computer consulting and contracting, what would it be?

                Or, to put the same question another way: If you were given a single wish of something to
                change (about a current or past client) what would it be?

                If you're an active consultant or IT contractor, I'm sure you have more than one response.
                But by asking you to give me only ONE answer, I can prioritize the issues that matter most
                to consultants and contractors. (I spent several years in that role myself, so believe me... I
                have my own list!) I'll turn the responses into a list of the top items, and -- since this is for
                CIO.com -- in this case the upper management at your client might actually read it. If I do
                my job well, he or she might actually learn from it.

                If you aren't a consultant, that's okay -- I'll still be happy for your input. Because there are
                plenty of problems that consulting and contracting causes for IT staff. (I'd give a few
                examples here but I don't want to make suggestions that cause you to say, "Yeah, just like
                that!")

                In either case, your "just ONE thing" can be something tiny and annoying, or a wide
                generality. This is about what gets *your* shorts twisted in a knot; you don't have to worry
                about whether it bugs other people too.

                Anecdotes are wonderful. Please, share horror stories.

                Two important requests:

                * PLEASE do not make your single answer a rant about outsourcing overseas. We have
                plenty of material on that subject already and it's entirely predictable. I'm much more
                interested in writing this article with specific advice that's more, well, close to home.

                * Remember that I'm writing an article and I need to quote my sources. I generally can't get
                away with anonymous quotes. So please *please* give me your name, company name ("self
                employed consultant" is fine though your company name is better), some idea of your
                company size (that is, a solo developer may have different perspective from a larger
                consulting firm), your personal role (i.e. "a consultant who specializes in web
                development" or "a Java programmer on staff"), number of years consulting, and location.
                If you refer to a client, supply some kind of description for credibility (i.e. "a large
                insurance company in the midwest" if you don't feel comfortable saying, "When I was a
                consultant at State Farm..."). At a minimum, send me a private e-mail message at esther at
                bitranch dot com. The point is that I need to provide references, or the article lacks
                credibility.

                I'll check back here -- because I'm sure this will be a fun topic for the community to
                discuss -- but I'd also be happy to hear from you privately.

                I'll collect input until, oh, sometime next week. Say, the end of July. Then I'll collate the
                responses and turn them into something (arguably) brilliant to which you can point
                prospective clients.

                Esther Schindler
                Senior Online Editor, CIO.com
                http://advice.cio.com/blogs/youre_the_boss


              • Steven Gordon
                E, Anonymous Scrum/XP Coach, unless you have a better suggestion. S
                Message 7 of 10 , Jul 29, 2007
                  E,

                  Anonymous Scrum/XP Coach, unless you have a better suggestion.

                  S

                  On 7/27/07, estherschindler <esther@... > wrote:

                  Hey, why be tactful? It's often most useful to whack an exec on the
                  side of the head. And it's one reason that this sort of article can be
                  useful... it isn't YOU worrying that if you speak your mind, you'll
                  lose your gig.

                  But as a reminder: folks, please give me some way to refer to you in
                  the article! (We can discuss it privately if necessary.)

                  E

                  --- In agile-testing@yahoogroups.com, "Steven Gordon" <sgordonphd@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > I would wish that upper management would be more open to the
                  possiblity that
                  > sometimes they are part of the problem.
                  >
                  > In other words, when upper management sees a software development
                  problem,
                  > assumes that the problems must be due to how the software developers and
                  > their immediate managers are doing their job, and calls in
                  consultants to
                  > help them do their jobs better, sometimes the problem is not in the
                  > development sphere. If upper management cannot conceive that they
                  might be
                  > doing the things that are causing some of their problems, there is
                  no way to
                  > fix the problems.
                  >
                  > Given your skills, I hope you can find a more tactfully way to
                  express this.
                  >
                  > Steve


                • estherschindler
                  Well I *do* have a better suggestion -- or at least a strong need for one. If I m writing for CIOs and top managers, I need them to know that this article has
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jul 31, 2007
                    Well I *do* have a better suggestion -- or at least a strong need for one.

                    If I'm writing for CIOs and top managers, I need them to know that this article has
                    credibility. That means I need real names and a real context. It doesn't mean that you have
                    to say, "My name is Jo Jones and my client Foo Inc is the stupidest company on the planet"
                    (even if it's true). But a manager has to have some sense that the comments are real, that
                    they come from people whose opinions and experiences are relevant, or she won't pay
                    enough attention to them.

                    What's wrong with saying, "Steven Gordon, a SCRUM/XP coach"? or "Jo Jones, who has been
                    consulting for 10 years and specializes in Java development"? Do you think they'll really
                    fail to give you work because you were quoted? (The sad fact is that bad managers never
                    recognize themselves in these anecdotes.)

                    As an example, I'll post something I might write if my own consulting experiences were
                    permissible in the article:

                    Esther Schindler spent 15 years as a computer consultant, often as a contractor at
                    software companies. Her pet peeve was IT managers who gave consultants more credit
                    than they gave their own staff. At one minicomputer company (which is, thankfully, long
                    gone), she was asked to evaluate the QA system for the firm's many language compilers.
                    All she did was ask the employees for their input, who were happy to share their wishlists;
                    she also did some technical analysis of the process, but that was minor. However, when
                    Schindler presented the "here's what needs to change" data to the managers, they acted as
                    though she had discovered fire. When the information was available to them all along.

                    I don't actually have to mention that it was Prime Computers; the point is the same.

                    (And those managers may burn in hell, for all I care. But that's because of a contract issue,
                    which is another story entirely.)


                    --- In agile-testing@yahoogroups.com, "Steven Gordon" <sgordonphd@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > E,
                    >
                    > Anonymous Scrum/XP Coach, unless you have a better suggestion.
                    >
                    > S
                    >
                    > On 7/27/07, estherschindler <esther@...> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Hey, why be tactful? It's often most useful to whack an exec on the
                    > > side of the head. And it's one reason that this sort of article can be
                    > > useful... it isn't YOU worrying that if you speak your mind, you'll
                    > > lose your gig.
                    > >
                    > > But as a reminder: folks, please give me some way to refer to you in
                    > > the article! (We can discuss it privately if necessary.)
                    > >
                    > > E
                    > >
                    > > --- In agile-testing@yahoogroups.com <agile-testing%40yahoogroups.com>,
                    > > "Steven Gordon" <sgordonphd@>
                    > > wrote:
                    > > >
                    > > > I would wish that upper management would be more open to the
                    > > possiblity that
                    > > > sometimes they are part of the problem.
                    > > >
                    > > > In other words, when upper management sees a software development
                    > > problem,
                    > > > assumes that the problems must be due to how the software developers and
                    > > > their immediate managers are doing their job, and calls in
                    > > consultants to
                    > > > help them do their jobs better, sometimes the problem is not in the
                    > > > development sphere. If upper management cannot conceive that they
                    > > might be
                    > > > doing the things that are causing some of their problems, there is
                    > > no way to
                    > > > fix the problems.
                    > > >
                    > > > Given your skills, I hope you can find a more tactfully way to
                    > > express this.
                    > > >
                    > > > Steve
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                  • George Dinwiddie
                    ... Just checking, did you get the reply I sent off-list? - George -- ... * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com Software
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jul 31, 2007
                      estherschindler wrote:
                      > I'll check back here -- because I'm sure this will be a fun topic for the community to
                      > discuss -- but I'd also be happy to hear from you privately.

                      Just checking, did you get the reply I sent off-list?

                      - George

                      --
                      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                      * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                      Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                      Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                    • estherschindler
                      Thanks for your help with my article! I m happy to report that it s live. Getting Clueful: Nine Things CIOs Should Know About Computer Consulting and
                      Message 10 of 10 , Aug 9, 2007
                        Thanks for your help with my article! I'm happy to report that it's live.

                        Getting Clueful: Nine Things CIOs Should Know About Computer
                        Consulting and Contracting

                        When the workload becomes overwhelming, the project is in trouble, or
                        expertise doesn't exist in-house, it's common to bring in a consultant
                        or contractor to fix the problem. The hired guns of IT explain (in
                        gory detail) the mistakes that enterprise IT managers make, and how to
                        get the most out of the consulting budget.
                        http://www.cio.com/article/129250

                        I had an impressive amount of input, for which I am very grateful. Not
                        everyone's comments made it into the final article (1500 words had to
                        be left on the cutting room floor) but I'm pretty pleased with it
                        nonetheless.

                        Esther Schindler
                        senior online editor
                        CIO.com


                        --- In agile-testing@yahoogroups.com, "estherschindler" <esther@...>
                        wrote:
                        >
                        > Sorry for the OT post but I'm positive that several people here are
                        consultants... or work
                        > with them.
                        >
                        > I'm writing another article in my "5 Things the CIO should know..."
                        series, which includes
                        > "7 things the CIO should know about telecommuting"
                        (http://www.cio.com/article/
                        > 108501), "5 things the CIO should know about software requirements"
                        (http://
                        > www.cio.com/article/29903), and "...about fighting spam"
                        (http://www.cio.com/article/
                        > 28830).
                        >
                        > This time, I'm asking contractors and consultants about their
                        experiences with clients --
                        > in particular, with the upper management at the client company. I'd
                        love to include your
                        > input.
                        >
                        > There's just one question to answer: If you could get the (client)
                        boss(es) to understand
                        > JUST ONE THING about computer consulting and contracting, what would
                        it be?
                        >
                        > Or, to put the same question another way: If you were given a single
                        wish of something to
                        > change (about a current or past client) what would it be?
                        >
                        > If you're an active consultant or IT contractor, I'm sure you have
                        more than one response.
                        > But by asking you to give me only ONE answer, I can prioritize the
                        issues that matter most
                        > to consultants and contractors. (I spent several years in that role
                        myself, so believe me... I
                        > have my own list!) I'll turn the responses into a list of the top
                        items, and -- since this is for
                        > CIO.com -- in this case the upper management at your client might
                        actually read it. If I do
                        > my job well, he or she might actually learn from it.
                        >
                        > If you aren't a consultant, that's okay -- I'll still be happy for
                        your input. Because there are
                        > plenty of problems that consulting and contracting causes for IT
                        staff. (I'd give a few
                        > examples here but I don't want to make suggestions that cause you to
                        say, "Yeah, just like
                        > that!")
                        >
                        > In either case, your "just ONE thing" can be something tiny and
                        annoying, or a wide
                        > generality. This is about what gets *your* shorts twisted in a knot;
                        you don't have to worry
                        > about whether it bugs other people too.
                        >
                        > Anecdotes are wonderful. Please, share horror stories.
                        >
                        > Two important requests:
                        >
                        > * PLEASE do not make your single answer a rant about outsourcing
                        overseas. We have
                        > plenty of material on that subject already and it's entirely
                        predictable. I'm much more
                        > interested in writing this article with specific advice that's more,
                        well, close to home.
                        >
                        > * Remember that I'm writing an article and I need to quote my
                        sources. I generally can't get
                        > away with anonymous quotes. So please *please* give me your name,
                        company name ("self
                        > employed consultant" is fine though your company name is better),
                        some idea of your
                        > company size (that is, a solo developer may have different
                        perspective from a larger
                        > consulting firm), your personal role (i.e. "a consultant who
                        specializes in web
                        > development" or "a Java programmer on staff"), number of years
                        consulting, and location.
                        > If you refer to a client, supply some kind of description for
                        credibility (i.e. "a large
                        > insurance company in the midwest" if you don't feel comfortable
                        saying, "When I was a
                        > consultant at State Farm..."). At a minimum, send me a private
                        e-mail message at esther at
                        > bitranch dot com. The point is that I need to provide references, or
                        the article lacks
                        > credibility.
                        >
                        > I'll check back here -- because I'm sure this will be a fun topic
                        for the community to
                        > discuss -- but I'd also be happy to hear from you privately.
                        >
                        > I'll collect input until, oh, sometime next week. Say, the end of
                        July. Then I'll collate the
                        > responses and turn them into something (arguably) brilliant to which
                        you can point
                        > prospective clients.
                        >
                        >
                        > Esther Schindler
                        > Senior Online Editor, CIO.com
                        > http://advice.cio.com/blogs/youre_the_boss
                        >
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