Tag Archives: IT bad behavior

Consultant Survivor

An old post….considered an “oldie, but a goodie!” ¬† ūüėČ

So, you know how the show Survivor works??  Well… I got voted off the island last night.

The company that I was consulting for, in a bold but not unexpected move, ¬†fired their CIO three weeks ago. ¬†They immediately followed up with assessing and letting go of the myriad of high priced consultants one by one. ¬†To set the stage appropriately, the now former CIO believed in a bizarre brand of “healthy competition” and hired multiple consulting firms to support (aka “fight over”) ¬†the same projects. ¬† ¬†There were at least 9 consulting and professional services¬†organizations¬†and no less than 20 consultants engaged in 3 projects for a $300m company. ¬†That doesn’t include the 30 or so full time staffers. ¬†(If anyone in the industry is interested, email me and I’ll tell you who all the firms were. ¬†It’s good for a chuckle.)

In the first couple of days after the Chief made his unceremonious exit, ¬†2 consultants from the LT tribe got cut and happily ran like hell to get on the next plane home. ¬† The ones left behind were silently relieved and openly envious. ¬†A few more days went by and DB and Associates got cut‚Ķ.a few more days after that and the TC tribe went home‚Ķ..then a couple of the Q tribe just left on their own, knowing it was only a matter of time for them‚Ķ. and then SS got tossed‚Ķ.. one by one….until only one consulting firm and two lowly consultants were left.

In the final hours‚Ķ.it was down to just John and I. ¬† I pondered the irony. ¬†I had previously begged and pleaded with my bosses to get me off the account and send me anywhere else….yes, even New Jersey. ¬†But they wouldn’t budge. ¬†There was much unnecessary laughter and comments about how I had to “take one for the team”. ¬† (I never forgave them for that by the way.) ¬† But now it was all different. ¬†I wanted to be the last one standing triumphantly hoisting my 60 page IT Strategic Roadmap in the air. ¬†I was relatively confident and knew I had the better skill set and experience for what they needed ‚Ķ.but alas, I also knew I was weak in the “relationship” department. ¬†I tried to remember who I had pissed off last and how that might impact my chances. ¬†Who did I need to take to lunch to atone?

In the final moments, John (brilliant in his own right) won out with better alliances and relationships. ¬†I was overjoyed and pissed off in equal doses. ¬†“Be careful what you wish for John!” was my final taunt as the elevator door closed on my last trip to that crazy building (which I swear was built to signal alien spaceships).

Despite it being a completely miserable 9 month experience, I guess I should be happy that I made it to the final tribal council.  Maybe I’ll get to do the talk-show circuit and then come back as the nemesis on the final challenge or as a judge in the next season.

Oh, the joys of consulting!

The Client Bill of Rights (Something Every Outsourcer Should Have)

As a client of a service bureau for most of my professional life, I was constantly tortured by my vendors with things that¬†I think they (as a matter of course)¬†take for granted.¬† As a vendor now,¬†It’s time to¬†articulate and repeatedly reinforce these things¬†with my organization and emphasize the need to put common sense practices into place.¬†

Here are my top items:

1.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Just say NO to production environment updates:¬† No production updates, EVER, EVER, EVER without¬†partner approval in advance.¬† No one is even allowed to ‚ÄúBREATHE‚ÄĚ on the production environment‚Ķ‚ĶNot (EVER)‚Ķ.Say it with me‚Ķ. E-V-E-R!!!¬†

  • No applications changes without partner approval in advance.¬† E-V-E-R!
  • No database changes without partner approval in advance.¬† E-V-E-R!
  • No changes to production reports without partner approval in advance.¬† E-V-E-R!

2.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Provide regular status updates:¬† Partners are only going to bug you, call you or hunt you down if you don‚Äôt communicate (and they won‚Äôt be happy doing it either).¬† If they know what‚Äôs going on, they can fend off their angry users and will not have to bite our heads off later.¬† Status update means 5 bullet points in email‚Ķ.it does NOT mean ‚ÄėWar and Peace‚Äô on a special 50 page status form.

3.      Check the integrations:  It’s technology…. if you touch one thing, everything else breaks.  Make sure you are talking to all the other developers that code could impact.  Consider all the other touch points in the system as you code.

4.     Test it first:  Unit test and integration test before handing it over.  If it doesn’t successfully take a sales order or enrollment, put it in the database and it shows up on the internal and field facing reporting in all account classes…. DON’T SEND IT TO THE PARTNER FOR TESTING.

5.      It’s not done until there’s a report and a UI:  There isn’t a piece of code that will be written that doesn’t require or impact a report either for internal use or for the field.  Factor this into development every single time.

6.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Partners ‚Äúheart‚ÄĚ SQL:¬† When¬†analyzing or¬†auditting, send the partner raw SQL to show how it was done.¬† If we don‚Äôt have a report written, just send¬†the SQL to the partner who can turn it into a report themselves.¬† Watch out for over-writing any existing reports.¬† ¬†

7.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† We ‚Äúheart‚ÄĚ questions:¬† If¬†you don‚Äôt know something or have a question about how to do something‚Ķ. ASK!!!!¬† Don‚Äôt assume¬†you know what the partner wants (that would be just too scary!!)