Friday, January 8, 2010

If it Ain't Written Down ...

Yesterday was installation day. I set off for a 3-hour on-site visit.

Armed with printed copies of my proposal and specifications.

I had already emailed an agenda that read:

1: Review proposal, terms, copyright, specifications.
2: Demonstrate on laptop.
3: Install on a local machine.
4: Run from memory key or spare folder.

I am prone to giving away too much, especially to businesses that rent or own large offices in warehouses, pay salaried receptionists, and have vacation and medical and pension benefits plans.

I invented another meeting at 5pm which would necessitate my leaving at 4pm, once the 3 hours were up.

My first item of business was NOT on the laptop, it was on the stapled specifications and proposal.

We skimmed through the proposal, allowing me to remind the client that while they had a site-wide license to install and use the code, they did not own the code, and had no license to unlock or reverse-engineer my efforts. I retain copyright to the code.

We skimmed through the specifications, allowing me to firm up in the client's mind that this was a first attempt at resolving their problems based on the one (!) sample document that had been afforded me, and based on my necessarily limited knowledge of their word-processing ability.

Then we ran the demos; then we discussed good vs. bad habits in Microsoft Word; then we installed (one problem there), then I left. At 3:58 p.m. after ostentatiously making a phone call on my cell phone.

And hurried off to my 5pm meeting, with Jupiter my cat, waiting patiently for me to return home for supper.

Early in the three hours, my contact started chatting and said "I like to talk", so I gently murmured "it's your dime", and watched 15 minutes slip away before steering us back to the tasks at hand. My commitment is to be there for 3 hours; if the client wants to chat instead of learning, that's their decision. A direct result of my stating the 3-hour on-site time-limit.

As questions arose, the contact commented that "this is a first stage, we will quickly get that matter into phase 2", so my review of the limitations of phase 1 paid off and I did not offer to "dash of a quick macro and email it to you".

The hard copy served me well; it held my generous and impetuous nature in check, guided us both for 3 hours, and appears to have left me clutching a fistful of change orders which translate directly into dollars.

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