[thelist] how do you manage/respond?

Barney Carroll barney.carroll at gmail.com
Sat May 30 03:56:06 CDT 2009

You've said a few times now that it's too late to issue this client with an
initial contract (or to amend said contract) — so I'll stop giving advice of
the 'first of all, go back to just before agreeing to the work' nature. But
what exactly do you need to sort this out? And how desperate is this

   - Are you looking for advice on how to appease the client; make them
   understand the working process; pressure them into submission; or take them
   to court?
   - And is it more of a case of you becoming stressed and bitter with the
   client, or are they losing their patience (however unreasonably) with you
   - Are you working with them in-house on a day-by-day basis, or working
   remotely, putting in 6 hours there, 4 there, etc, etc?

I think whatever happens is really dependent on your relationship so far and
a question of your own pride and conviction. I sympathise because I have a
tendency to be extremely humble to the point of self-effacement to clients —
except when dealing with extremely genial people, this always backfires and
leaves the client feeling that your services are second-rate, that you owe
them everything, and that they have no responsibilities towards you. It
devalues the whole working process, and the end product by extension.

You definitely need to announce your dissatisfaction to the client. And the
best way to follow it up is to say that it's not necessarily their fault,
but there have been false impressions and the work is suffering as a result.
Then you propose a model whose goal is to make work on the project more
efficient (essentially introducing the working process ideas suggested here
as contractual clauses), and leave them in a position where a) your problems
are solved and b) the client respects you for it.

Barney Carroll
Web designer & front-end developer

web: www.clickwork.net

mobile: +44 (0) 7594 506 381
home: +44 (0) 118 975 0020

twitter: @barneycarroll

2009/5/30 Martin Burns <martin at easyweb.co.uk>

> On 29 May 2009, at 23:32, Bob Meetin wrote:
> > * Every time the customer comes up with a new requirement, you simply
> > work out what it would cost to implement (in terms of cost *and*
> > schedule (and risk to anything else you're doing)), and check that
> > they're happy to proceed with it. *
> >
> > ==>>
> >
> > This sounds good in concept and is reasonably doable if you coded the
> > application but when you're implementing an open source application
> > and
> > have to dig/research through unfamiliar code the simplest changes may
> > take many hours if they are even doable.
> Actually, it's no different. Of course, investigating the change takes
> time - equally true for 3rd party and custom written software. And
> that's chargeable time.
> But the benefit of using OSS is that you *can* dig through the code,
> and as most requirements are surprisingly common at their heart,
> there's a fair chance that someone else has already implemented what
> the customer wants and released it.
> Hell, even if you have to subcontract the changes, you're still making
> money on them...
> > If as in this particular case you are assigned to work with someone
> > whose job is to populate the cart (not the financially responsible
> > party) who does not care nor understand the requirement process, all
> > that you will hear is, "Why can't you do this? This program is
> > inadequate, is dumb, you baffoon!"
> Well, ignoring the inflammatory language, if the SW won't do what the
> customer wants as it currently is, then that's a sales opportunity
> floating in front of your nose.
> Cheers
> Martin
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