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A client complains………

 
#1 A client complains………
25/07/2008 16:51

PL

……..about blatant Big 4 blagging! I am currently running a major, multi-site, 4 year project and have engaged the services of a big 4 outfit. So far so good. We have the usual bumps, hiccups, challenges etc, but the relationship is generally good. Why is it then, that the partners have to constantly push the boundaries of goodwill, and good taste, by their blatant attempts to bolster the size of their team and get further (unbudgeted) bodies on the shopfloor.

The latest attempt was a manager requesting that she bring along a junior colleague as they were required to participate in a buddying/mentoring programme. No real objection on our behalf, until the chap turns up and is recognised by a colleague as a seasoned consultant who staffed an earlier project for several months. Guys – I’m embarrassed for you!

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#2 RE: A client complains………
25/07/2008 17:04

anon to PL (#1)

Why the funk should you be subsidising their internal training/mentoring programme anyway?

Give these charlatans a message in a format they will understand - a "project review" meeting. Make it clear to them who is running the show - YOU, not them. Tell them that it may well be a long project but unless they stop bull5hitting you, you're gonna break it down into discrete stages and put each separate stage out to tender. That will wake them up.

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#3 RE: A client complains………
25/07/2008 18:28

anon to anon (#2)

I'd also start seriously asking yourself what else they have probably been blagging to you about.

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#4 RE: A client complains………
25/07/2008 23:48

CD to PL (#1)

Relax. If they've said that the new consultant is present for buddying/mentoring that means they're not on billable time. If they happen to be an experienced consultant, all the better - you're getting expertise for free. More broadly, it doesn't matter how many bodies the firm has - what matters is the ratio between total cost and total work done. If your contractor chooses to put in a larger number of cheaper resources rather than a small number of expensive resources, that's their judgement. Just as you wouldn't tell your doctor how many nurses and anaestheiologists to bring into the operating theatre, you have to trust your professional services contractor to make the call, within the remit of their contract, to use budget and their own staff in the manner they judge most effective.

The real question, if you're so bothered by this, is why you're employing a consultancy to do any implementation work. It's a stupid idea to start with. They should only be there to advise and project manage - not positions which you can put any great number of people into. Those warm bodies are not doing anything your existing staff or a pile of temps couldn't do for 1/10th the price.

If you're really running the project then you're the budget owner. Take ownership of your project and its staffing - no firm can bill you for work you haven't asked for. But if you don't have a resource plan then it may be inevitable that your contractors will push you to take their resources in order to get the work done on time.

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#5 RE: A client complains………
26/07/2008 16:27

madness to CD (#4)

"Just as you wouldn't tell your doctor how many nurses and anaestheiologists to bring into the operating theatre, you have to trust your professional services contractor to make the call, within the remit of their contract, to use budget and their own staff in the manner they judge most effective."

You're kidding right? If I was a client I'd want to screen every CV and know exactly what people would be doing on a project before they came. We all know that all too often a project is staffed by whoever is sitting around the office whether they know anything about the project topic at all. Worse, the reason they're sitting around is that most often they're the worst people.

Telling clients to "relax" that us consultants would never dream of stitching them up is madness!

In the case of an experienced resource being free, take it and be happy though. When they start pointing out how useful they are and saying maybe they should get involved just say you won't move on budget, but it'd be great if he could remain part of the team. If they're having a quiet time (which can be the only reason for this) then you may just get them free for ages. During the early 00s downturn some consultancies sometimes had dozens of free consultants on projects to keep the clients sweet. Whatever happens, my advice is keep this person involved in the core work, most often they get started on a new work package on their own and that's when it's harder to let them walk out the door.

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