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On My Meds: Why I Love Being a Consulting Manager

While at MS Convergence 2013 (#conv13), I drank a couple of Xanax martinis with a twist of Cymbalta and realized why I really do love my job. 

1. The team:  I love working as part of a high performing team.  Watching Abby Moore and Sandra Dodge just KILL their first large public presentation at Convergence 2013 was a complete joy.  Add in Frank Hamelly, Mark Polino (that’s right, two MVP’s), Clinton Weldon, Jon Byrd, EJ Reese and all the other members of the IBIS convergence team and you get an astonishingly great group of folks to admire.

2.  The partners:  Despite Microsoft’s continued and misguided efforts to accidentally erode the partner channel, it’s still a really solid group of smart, forward looking hardworking folks. 

3.  The customers:  The reason we exist, the meaning in our work lives, the purpose behind the 40+ per week we spend together.  #Conv13 reminded me of the tremendous relationships I’ve forged and friendships made over the years with the people who pay my salary.  In general, they are awesome and building things to make them better at what they do is why we all get up in the morning.

Put all those together and its like driving a Ferrari on the Autobahn at high noon while the physicist supermodel next to you explains she’s actually a wealthy heiress and she’d like nothing better than to coddle you financially for the rest of your life.

Boo-ya.  Loving my life,

 

Dwight

Off My Meds: Why I Hate Being A Consulting Manager

I’m off my meds, seriously raging and thought that you, my faithful readers, should bear the brunt of my imbalance and anger.

I love this industry. And I really love 99% of clients with whom I’ve worked. But, once you go high enough up, you HAVE to deal with unhappy clients as a major part of your job. Oh, you may think “but if you did your job right, they’d be happy”. Bullshit. This job is like selling someone new construction real estate than telling them they have to help you pour the foundation and nail up shingles. You can’t do it without the client being right there with you, but too often they are not then they blame you for it. Look, I totally get it if we oversold the product capabilities. If our staff trained poorly, didn’t show up with the expected degree of professionalism or didn’t fully understand the business requirements, we SHOULD be held responsible. If we were just assholes, fine, hold me accountable and ask me to be better.

But, please, tell me: exactly how goddamn responsible for the world’s problems am I supposed to be? Why is it my fault when the client:

  • Doesn’t spend time, any time, on the system during the implementation and then complains the training was insufficient.
  • Doesn’t make timely design decisions, then complains about cost overruns.
  • Doesn’t take time away from their day job and then gets angry with project staff when they call it out.
  • Assumes some random field should be on a report (which is invariably critical to their business), then asks for it at NC because “Any accounting system does that”. Did you spend any time during the pilot looking at this “critical” feature? And, remember that sign off your partner put in front of you after the Pilot? Yeah, didn’t think so.
  • Signs change requests for modifications, then refuses to pay them because “that was covered in the sales cycle”. Yeah, no shit, it was. Hence the CR being deployed when the final design was complete.
  • Assumes the words “Time and Materials” always, constantly, and forever mean “Fixed Fee”
  • Bitches about rates. Do you have any idea how much money our industry invests in keeping people up to date? And guess what, our industry’s labor rates are barely higher than a Ford dealer charges for doing an oil change.

To top it all off, we then get assholes likes this guy who lend credence to the asinine argument that its ALWAYS the consultants fault no matter what.

If you read my blog, then you know I have a core value around partnership (not around clean language, clearly, but no one is perfect), not just when easy, but thoroughly, constantly and always. But partnership is a natively bi-lateral relationship: both parties have to take it seriously. So, when we do and the client doesn’t, why blame us? Take a look at the problem in the mirror first.

Sheesh. Makes me want to chase my real ambition: being a plus sized model for fly fishing apparel.

Peace out. See you at #Conv13.

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