Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dealing with Technology Consultants

Here's what a few of our challenges can be with our clients:
  • No point person or driver.
  • Timelines are set for the project(s) but the client is too busy in their day to day operations.
  • There are users excited about the project but the owner/management is disengaged- key decisions stall out and project could be in peril.
  • Hardware and software can be buggy. Some clients think it's just plug it, install it, use it.
  • To save money, some want us to "train the trainer"- the only problem is, no one has told the trainer that or the trainer is not really a trainer.
  • Too many people at an organization have the ability to order our services with no internal controls. 60 days later the CFO is opening up a can...

The flip side when dealing with a tech firm:

  • Appoint or create a project leader/team and give them your full support (leaders)
  • Clear hurdles where you can so they have the time necessary to properly implement
  • Stay engaged with your point person- hold them to their timeline internally
  • Hire a reputable firm and check references if you don't have tech's in house to be on team
  • Be committed to training. Don't accept getting 90% there but not be fully trained. Be upfront and talk about this with your consultant.
  • Create internal processes for approving consultant time. Don't allow people to grab the IT tech to unclog the printer. Have a specified hit list and stick to the critical items first.
  • Explore fixed bids with good, clear scopes of work. While the perception is that you may get a "padded" bid, the reality is many times a good firm is eating overages. It also gives you some opportunity to budget rather than deal with an open checkbook.
  • Ask for quotes prior to work being done.
  • On development projects, have a fixed monthly amount for regular progress to be made on your project/systems. Work from critical items then down the punch list.

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