Yes, it’s another client story since I seem to be on a roll about them. This one is different from the first one. It involves a client that’s actually a friend, and we’ve been doing business for some time now. Well, this story goes along with the old saying that, “Familiarity Breeds Contempt.”

I did a project with this client some years back that involved developing a piece of proprietary software for his business to serve as a customer portal on his website. Well, the first attempt involved hiring low-cost labor to do the work because the budget was limited. Ok, so it went into production, and he called me to take a look at the work that had been done because some cracks were starting to show in the logic of the coding. Errors were popping up and repeated even after they were patched. So, we did a code audit and were sadly disappointed in the quality of the code. That’s what I had walked into. The ensuing months were spent looking at budgets, technology, and a new developer to rescue the project.

I developed a new project plan and prioritized how the existing software would be fixed, function by function. It was an iterative and safe approach, minimizing risk and requiring good results for each phase before we started the next phase. We were humming along on phase one and were about to hit the first milestone when the new developer started wanting to tackle additional objectives instead of taking the slower and safer plan I had designed. I held my ground, but the client did not. Even after some heated discussions, the client chose to take the advice of the new developer over mine. I immediately decided to make a quiet departure from the project because my effectiveness had been swept away in the euphoria of getting more done sooner. I was gone for a month when the project imploded on cost overruns, and all the work was stopped. The issue went into litigation, and eventually, a deal was made to complete the job. I kept in touch but did not get involved. The client and I remained friends, but I felt kicked in the groin and was enduring the pain.

Just a few weeks back, he called me again to consult on a new project he had just started. It was an extension of the original project I had worked with him, but with a new developer. He said he would remain in control of the project plan and he wanted me to come and design the new plan. I gave it some thought and had decided to decline, but during that conversation, he assured me that we would do it my way this time. I caved and took the job. I spent over 100 hours developing the project plan and laid it out for him in its full glory. The team was impressed with the result, and it was time to begin filling out the details.

Well, a week went by, and we had no further discussion about the plan. That was my first red flag. Then, we had the first team meeting, and I presented the plan to the entire team. There was complete silence as we quickly moved on to the discussion about using Trello as the task management tool. I had just spent over 100 hours reverse engineering an agile project plan methodology for use in the Microsoft Project management tool. I was dumbstruck and felt like I was kicked in the groin again, and without reason. The 100 hours invested had just been thrown down the dark hole of misery, and I was back at square one.

I did some research on Trello and figured out a way to recreate what I had just spent 100 hours doing in that tool. The question is, do I want to, and should I. Other people on the team are assigned to develop Trello but don’t know how. Does anybody have some advice?

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  1. Carces G.
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    Admin of Smart Investment

    When it comes to tasks like these, believe you are more than capable of doing it well Jim. As long as your friend pays you for your efforts then there’s no problem at all. He believes in you too and I think he never intended to waste your contribution to the project. I don’t have any idea about these tasks but if it’s you well I know you can do it. 🙂

  2. Opondo M
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    Does this client pay for the work already done? Because I think at a point you want your work to come to a completion. I highly feel you are his rescue plan when everything isn’t working, you pull the cart. Of course, you wear the shoes and know where it pinches but seriously, let your client know what is acceptable and what’s not moving forward!

    1. Carces G.
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      I also wanna ask the same thing.