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Thread: Changing course

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    More time posting than coding

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    Default Changing course

    This is a recurring pattern now - over and over.
    I take up a typical contract offer - I figure out the technology and environment way faster than others (and usually way better than those who have been there for years).
    This leads to all sorts of issues as the more established bums on seats start feeling threatened.
    They happily extract as much as possible from me (solutions, insights, knowledge - which I freely document and share) but I am then accused of not being a "team player" (which I realise is a euphemism for: either don't see through all the BS or if you do, just play along. "play the game").

    How does one break in to a more niche and specialist type of contracting (if it exists) where one can "get in, get the job done, get out" and not have to deal with all the unnecessary baggage.

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    Still gathering requirements...


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    Quote Originally Posted by yetanotherbob View Post
    This is a recurring pattern now - over and over.
    I take up a typical contract offer - I figure out the technology and environment way faster than others (and usually way better than those who have been there for years).
    This leads to all sorts of issues as the more established bums on seats start feeling threatened.
    They happily extract as much as possible from me (solutions, insights, knowledge - which I freely document and share) but I am then accused of not being a "team player" (which I realise is a euphemism for: either don't see through all the BS or if you do, just play along. "play the game").

    How does one break in to a more niche and specialist type of contracting (if it exists) where one can "get in, get the job done, get out" and not have to deal with all the unnecessary baggage.
    I'm trying to understand your question. When you say "unnecessary baggage" do you mean... "people"?

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    More time posting than coding

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scratch It View Post
    I'm trying to understand your question. When you say "unnecessary baggage" do you mean... "people"?
    Rephrased: How does one find projects where one can charge for deliverables rather than for number of days in a "role"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by yetanotherbob View Post
    Rephrased: How does one find projects where one can charge for deliverables rather than for number of days in a "role"?
    Quite easily, by being a team player, not acting superior, showing respect for others, and rather than jumping from one thing to another, finding one thing and sticking to it.
    0. Absolute Power corrupts absolutely. Moderator Power corrupts moderately.
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    More time posting than coding

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    Quote Originally Posted by WTFH View Post
    Quite easily, by being a team player, not acting superior, showing respect for others
    I do all of that - but there comes a time when I have to be assertive about the right approach in my considered professional opinion. In these situations, being a team player for me translates to:
    * let the mob drown out what I said (but suck it up when they later repackage to avoid giving credit and do exactly what I said because it made sense)
    And frankly, when you are more qualified, have more experience and work extra hard to be good at what you do, you don't need to "act superior" - it naturally shows and many people don't like it


    Quote Originally Posted by WTFH View Post
    jumping from one thing to another.
    On the contrary - I pick an area and do a thorough job - I have often investigated and fixed issues lingering at client sites for years - client teams had simply learnt to work around these.

    I think sometimes those in charge (not actual stakeholders but the middle-manager types) get uncomfortable about this and tend to quickly push me to something else.
    They justify this either to "spread the knowledge" or merely to maintain status quo for political reasons (maybe vested interests that can keep billing for keeping some aspects of client systems buggy).

    Happened very recently - I wasn't fully done with something and was suddenly asked to hand it over to complete newbies on an issue that required some depth. In my considered professional opinion, my work was not done and I was nowhere close to the estimated time for the work.
    It seems as if it scares many people that I can estimate my work and then hit or exceed targets (ideally in commercial arrangement, I should profit from the saved time but that's a different discussion)

    Quote Originally Posted by WTFH View Post
    finding one thing and sticking to it.
    I have got a good grip on a few niche areas and am building up competency and skills in new ones.
    What I am aiming for now is to break into a proper "contract" market and not to provide a "staffing" service selling my time.
    In theory we should be able to pitch to clients with offerings but I think the industry is set in some rigid old ways.
    Then some things go on "behind the scenes" that a straightforward technologist like me can never hope to understand.

    The positive signs are incidentally coming from the government sector with their GCloud and digital outcomes initiatives. But I think the transition within government departments might take a long time.
    Last edited by yetanotherbob; 8th July 2017 at 18:56.

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    My post count is Majestic

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    Surely a good supplier is one that delivers what the client wants in a timescale they want and to a price they want. Maybe learn from past problems and become a better supplier?
    'CUK forum personality of 2011' - Winner - Yes really!!!!

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    Respect my authoritah!

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    Quote Originally Posted by yetanotherbob View Post
    ...
    How does one break in to a more niche and specialist type of contracting (if it exists) where one can "get in, get the job done, get out" and not have to deal with all the unnecessary baggage.
    Luck and recommendations. Which means it's a good idea not upset your contacts.
    You won. Get over it.

    --drunk on abuse of power--

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    More time posting than coding


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    Default I know the feeling..

    Started a new contract about 6 weeks ago, the esteemed customer has tried, and failed, on numerous attempts to change things. So they brought in a new team of 4. including me, I've worked on this tech so know most of the pieces, and how they link. However, the most common term used in the daily 1 hour briefing the team has is "I don't know how this works, but my in my head it would be this....". I try to impart knowledge where possible, to bring everybody up to the same level.

    The product owner has now decided to do a "head-to-head" with 2 leading suppliers. This is all fine and good, but one of the suppliers offerings can only perform 2 out of the 3 things required, the key one is the call-centre bit, which we are trying to reduce down, not eradicate. So we'll have the new, and the old, instead of one shiny new package.
    There's multiple product owners who all want to take this into their area, when the reality is that it covers all 3. At the moment they're

    I don't think there's anyway around it, it's either carry on regardless, or become a "normal person" ie, loud and dumb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    Surely a good supplier is one that delivers what the client wants in a timescale they want and to a price they want. Maybe learn from past problems and become a better supplier?
    The problem is, what the real client stakeholders want (specified software solution within a timescale for a given budget) can be delivered without hassle.

    But clients (rather middle management) often have peripheral requirements that only come to light once you sign up:
    • They are stuck with "staff" (surprisingly, often contractors) who aren't delivering and they can't get rid of for some reason; so they need a real workhorse who would do everyone's work without questioning much
    • They measure progress by number of staff and "man"-hours (sic) rather than some tangible business value, so the implicit expectation is to train more staff
    • Someone (surprisingly, a contractor) who has been there for years is now up for promotion; so I am to play along in a public charade where the said contractor makes a show of teaching me some basics of my job (I am more qualified than him and, being a contractor, I bring my own training and skills).
    • Client has some flabby layers of middle managers who need someone to "manage" (bearing in mind that I am a "supplier" who might visit the client site when necessary to deliver my work - not to get "managed")
    • Project is in bad shape because of the above and other reasons and they need someone to sort it out or take the blame. If you try to be professional about it, ask probing questions or just apply some basic software engineering, then of course, you are not a "team player". You might even be a trouble maker.

    The point is, none of the above expectations are reasonable from a "supplier".
    Last edited by yetanotherbob; 8th July 2017 at 19:38.

  10. #10

    Still gathering requirements...


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    Quote Originally Posted by yetanotherbob View Post
    This is a recurring pattern now - over and over.
    I don't intend to be rude in the professional forum, though the clue is here right? Are you good with people generally? When you get into a discussion about these things with clients, do you sense that you're 'putting their backs up'? In my experience, hard to come back from that if you want to influence the discussion favourably.

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