Staying Focused

The customer had asked us to make change to our system for next year. I had a lot of questions about the details of the change. I asked our requirements team a lot of questions. They did not have the answers, so they scheduled a meeting with the customer. A lot of people chimed in with their ideas before the meeting. Some people were trying to do some database design. I ignored most of this since we had not nailed down the customer requirements yet.

I was pleased when the technical advisor that works for the customer got on the conference call. He said we don’t have a lot of time in the schedule. And so he wanted us to make the changes, but to implement them all in code. He did not want any new database columns being created to hold intermediate values. He also did not want any existing database columns to be populated any differently.

During the meeting, the customer clarified the requirements very clearly. The technical advisor essentially made the impact to my team negligible. Only one back end developer needed to do the work. That’s the way project management should be. Without this guy’s direction, there would have been all kinds of database changes. And my team would have been required to implement them all. We are way too busy for any of that.

I am not sure what we are going to do when this customer technical advisor retires next year. Maybe we can hire him to work for our company. He consistently helps cut the overhead and wasted efforts from our software development schedule. He also has the clout to make his decisions stick.