Hey Can You Write Down A Detailed “How To” So I Can Do It Myself?

I had an IT person call me Monday at 8:30 to say that he was moving servers and “would I be around” in case there was a problem moving the accounting software….

Mind you this client has a 100+ person payroll — that they had to process TODAY….

I’m increasingly finding that the client and their IT people want you to “write down all the steps” and “we’ll do it” — which is damn near impossible.

Next time I get that request I’m going to say — “sure, as soon as you send me a detailed failproof list for migrating a server from Windows 2000 to Windows 2008 with 100 users” …..

I will see a flurry of requests – usually over a period of weeks – for casual information. Then the (foolish) customer assumes they have enough information and experience to make some pretty beefy upgrades/enhancements – themselves. And usually with no fallback plan in case the upgrade fails.

More power to them — however I’m fast at work thinking about my “emergency unplanned consulting” project minimum fee.

Shouldn’t we be compensated for poor planning on the part of the client when they’ve gone against our prior advice?

I’m also MUCH more careful from the first casual inquiry to warn that my feedback/information is not meant to be a “how to” and that they should request to schedule time for major upgrades and server moves and if they require emergency assistance there will be a higher fee charge for that than if they just had us assist up front.

image via: TV Snob

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Comments

  1. Haha! How about, we don’t need training because we have used Accpac Plus (DOS) years ago. So the new windows 5.6 version would not be different.

  2. I cannot count how many times I have fielded this phone call.

  3. And the calls (once we explain that it’s more complicated than a single set of step by step instructions) typically end with:

    1. A statement about how terrible the software is

    2. A demand for a direct line to top support at the publisher and astonishment that this line is not pre-established (for free) for any technologist who wants to slip on the “do it yourself” hat.