The world of spider wings, or how to find a common language with customers

    Terentii , my ex-colleague and leader, took up the pen. I would like to comment on some episodes in ASG, especially the relationship with the client, marked as "led to the office, to put it mildly, boorishly - worthy heirs to the traditions of Soltychikha." The thing is ... the customer is always right. So ...

    When the X-Bank website project was ready and it was necessary to repay the contract, the project manager was not able to receive the payment “swiftly” and began to keep such notes:
    - January 20, 11:02. called the bank. The manager did not fit. promised to call back in an hour.
    - January 20, 15:02. called back. He was absent. called his leader. the secretary did not connect.
    - January 25, 11:02. called the bank. The manager went to the phone. screamed why I hadn't called before. made an appointment.
    - January 27, 15:00. they brought out the brain at the meeting, they said they would redo everything. in the contract did not look at TK. wrote to them the changes that we can do with the preservation of value.
    - January 28, 11:00. called to find out what is with the email. not connected ...
    And so on.

    Having plunged into a problem with X-Bank (described by terentii, his meeting-strategy with clients took place before that):

    1. The manager was reinsured and decided to close each stage of the contract with acts. For example, we made a catalog of services in the front-end, closed it with an act (which means that we won’t make any changes anymore), made a section “about the bank” - closed it with an act. Thus acts accumulated up to 15 pieces. The client suspended signing on the act of the seventh, and under the contract if there are no comments from the client, the act is automatically accepted 5 days after it is sent to the client ...

    2. TK did not indicate whether the rubber design. By default they made 800 by 600. On the monitor (far beyond 1600) of the chairman of the board, the right side of the screen was a white spot. And no one could explain how to remove it. To make a rubber design meant to redo the layout of the entire frontend, all the more so since the bank’s services menu, located on the left of the page, was done graphically. And the layout was closed a long time ago ...

    I well remember the meeting under item 2. The room was crowded: from our side: our chief programmer, head of project managers, I, as a project manager, from the Bank: chief technical specialist, head of IT department, press secretary (at the meeting, she extended her hand to me and her palm was strictly parallel to the floor, I shook my hand turning it to a perpendicular state. She didn’t greet me anymore), and several more uncles in ties of a very clever kind. For 2 hours we discussed options:

    1. Leave it as is and at the same time show the chairman of the board the site on another monitor. Problem: how to replace his favorite 27-inch monitor. The head of the IT department promised to go to the embrasure, giving the monitor temporarily for repair.
    2. Make a rubber version. Looking at the graying whiskey of our hand of project managers, I suggested not to do this because of the restructuring of the site (no one understood this) and re-approval by the chairman of the board (and everyone understood this). Therefore, from paragraph 2. immediately refused.
    3. Divide the page into 2 parts. One is pressed to the left, the second to the right. We fill in the middle with a banner or new site services. We dug up the volume on usability. They decided not to, otherwise the users’s brain will split.

    They closed the contract and launched the site as follows. We agreed with the head of the IT department (on whose balance sheet the contract hung) that we will be representatives of the parties. The bank agrees to 800 fix, we update all the content on the site, make several pages, train the content manager. After 2 weeks, we sat opposite each other and signed 8 missing acts in turn.

    The calmest client was the Federation Council Press Service, of which terentii speaks. Most of all I remember the dining room with prices of 7 rubles 38 kopecks, where I tried to come as often as possible, the press service team that watered tea with cookies and just that former colonel. Prior to launching the project, he spent most of his time working on typesetting pages and linking static pages to each other, so he accepted the idea of ​​automating his work with a bang. He gave me recommendations on data structures, what information products should be, etc. In general, we completed the project quickly and practically without coordination.

    Everything ran into a hat (it was a picture of 800 by 60 pixels) ... on which, according to the client’s requirements, Russia and the building of the Federation Council, and the coat of arms, and the flag are depicted. Everything would be fine, but he asked only to make the flag animated in a flash, i.e. fluttering. I noted that only an animated flag with other static objects will raise a number of questions, in addition, what parameters does the flag use for “waving”? Wind speed, direction? Obviously, you need to take into account weather data, time of day, which requires a separate server, additional approvals ... If the time of day, how should the SF windows go out? Which window should go out last? Chairman's window? And if it is not from the street? Rotate a building in 3D? But for security reasons, you can’t show that it is in this window that the chairman’s office ... Of course, I exaggerated but nevertheless, we decided to postpone the animated flag until the next version of the project. Soon they forgot about the flag. And our designer was saved from the complicated programming of wind in a flash.

    In general, which of these lessons can be learned for project managers:

    * The client will never say in the “right” language what he needs. Understand his business and understand the needs. If you have not guessed, the client does not accept the project - this is your problem, not the client.

    * It is not possible to defend oneself against customer complaints by legal means (rigid contracts, acts, etc.). The whole project is done on mutual respect and trust. No trust - and nothing will save.

    * Customer representatives (and if these are large companies) get their positions hard, are in constant corporate struggle. They implicitly require respect for themselves, for their status. So respect their status (but don't bow down - that makes a difference).

    * Design is always subjective. Put up to 10 design options in the project - i.e. “To the end”. Never ask "what exactly do you dislike about the design". Design is either tasty or not tasty. And without explaining the reasons with the decoding of "goodies."

    * Treat your client’s site as your business’s site. For the client, you will immediately be yours.

    In G. Garrison’s trilogy, “The World of Death,” there is a chapter about a colony of settlers on a planet with a very aggressive fauna and flora. The colony was surrounded by a technological Perimeter, which every minute burned out attempts by poisonous plants to tear the colonists to pieces. When the main character was behind the Perimeter, for some reason (I think I just wanted to live), I began to think about monsters without hatred and they became warm towards him. However, shark teeth and saliva in the aliens style remained the same. So the world is the way we think about it. He only mirrors us.

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