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Issue 10.4 ('Extreme Programming')
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Projects that Go Bad

Preparing for the World

Issue: 10.4 (May/June 2012)
Author: Bob Keeney
Author Bio: Bob is the owner of BKeeney Software that provides Real Studio and iOS consulting for clients all over the world. In addition to providing consulting, BKeeney Software provides Real Studio training videos (currently over 30 hours worth) and sells software to consumers and developers alike. He is a founder and former President of the Association of Real Studio Professionals.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,955
Starting Page Number: 73
Article Number: 10413
Related Link(s): None

Excerpt of article text...

I love being a Real Studio consultant. The variety of clients and projects keeps life interesting and exciting. Every project is different from the last. I've worked on four major accounting packages in my professional career and each one was wildly different from the others. Who knew accounting would be so dynamic?

My company has three full-time developers which isn't too common in the Real Studio world. This means that I am always on the lookout for new clients and new projects. We look at a lot of projects over the course of any given year and because we have three families to feed we also take on a lot of work. This leaves us susceptible to finding bad clients.

Don't get me wrong—there's a difference between hard-to-please and bad clients. Bad clients are those clients that if you don't fire them they'll end up costing you. Not only do they tend to cost you money, but they tend to cost you health points because of the severe stress they induce.

The funny thing about bad clients is that if you're really honest with yourself, you know that they're going to be a major pain early on in the relationship, but, for various reasons (money being the big one), you keep forging ahead with the relationship hoping that it will get better. It's not until you've gone through the proverbial House of Horrors with them that you realize it's not going to work. Instead of a partner willing to work with you, you have someone actively working against you.

A lot of client relationships start over the phone and via email. If you get that 'icky' feeling or if something just isn't right, you need to seriously ask yourself why. One thing I've learned (the hard way) is that I need to trust my gut instincts. If you meet with the client and you get those feelings, run away as fast as you can. If the relationship starts off rocky what will happen when the inevitable problems all projects face start to accumulate? The relationship probably won't get any better.

Some clients won't show their true colors until later in the project. Perhaps you've broken payments down into installments and they've been paying and you've sent them betas and then all of sudden they stop paying or request more changes, expecting it to be done for nothing. Those are the hardest to deal with because you've done work for them and you expect your payments, but if you're tight on cash they can hold that over you. I've had clients literally say, "I'll pay the invoice if you do this extra for me." Not a good situation to be in but, hopefully, you have a high enough rate that you can weather that situation.

...End of Excerpt. Please purchase the magazine to read the full article.