But I quoted you at least 10 hours!



  • Recently, I started some very light contract work with a web designer who needed a skilled developer to complete some website work when it went beyond just crafting the site in dreamweaver. I've done some small projects for him in the past and usually goes without a hitch. Unless it was due to some heavy-duty changes requested by the client that went beyond the scope of the project, I was generally within the bounds of my estimates.

    About a week ago, he approached me with a new project. The site was mostly finished, content-wise, using a CMS, but he was just asked to skin the template a certain way and wanted me to look at the CMS and determine how much time it would take to reskin the site based on how good the CMS tools were.

    I told him that, without a specific description of the changes he wanted, I couldn't possibly give him an accurate estimate. However, if it's as simple as taking what is already on the site and swapping colors, textures, and the like, I would quote about 10 hours. If it's more than that, changing dimensions of major elements of the page, adding new pages or sections, repositioning elements of the layout, etc. there could be a lot more work involved, and I'd need to see what you're envisioning.

    He then gave me a storyboard of sorts that described most of the specific changes he wanted. Fortunately, it all looked straight forward and looked to be a simple "reskinning" of the existing template, and wouldn't require more complicated work. I then gave him my official quote based on that storyboard, 10 hours, with the contingency that any further changes could push that quote.

    He responded saying, "Oh, well, if you can do it in 4 hours that would be great. I already gave the client a bid based on you doing it in 4 hours, and they just agreed. I'll give you the assets in a few days. If you do it in 10, I'll eat the cost, but I'd really like to avoid losing money on this."

    sigh Where on earth did I even utter "4 hours" in any of our discussions? Oh well, if he loses money because he wanted to bid low, that's his perogative. He's still bound to my invoice at the end of this.



  • It's probably from a StarTrek theme:

    "Ach, captain, I cannae do it unner 4 days!"

    "Scotty, you got 4 hours!"

    "Aye, captain, then I'll do it in 2!"

    He probably thought you were doing this Kirk-Scotty-Routine and supplied the last sentence in his head.



  • @RHuckster said:

    Where on earth did I even utter "4 hours" in any of our discussions?
     

    This is not at all uncommon in people who have to negotiate with users.  They start hallucinating all sorts of conversations where you promise stuff you've never actually said.  Then they assure the eager slavering users that you've committed to doing all the things they hallucinated.



  • @da Doctah said:

    @RHuckster said:

    Where on earth did I even utter "4 hours" in any of our discussions?
     

    This is not at all uncommon in people who have to negotiate with users.  They start hallucinating all sorts of conversations where you promise stuff you've never actually said.  Then they assure the eager slavering users that you've committed to doing all the things they hallucinated.

    Never give a verbal quote. Do it by email at the very least. Then if it all gets nasty you can wave a piece of paper at his attorney.



  •  I've been trying to figure out if there's any viable way out of the following scenario:

    Project leader has come up with some approach to a problem that she's convinced will work.  She's wrong.  Unfortunately, it's either that time of the month or she's just decided to quit smoking, so any attempt to point out the problems with her approach are met with a curt "shut up!"

    Now, I know that if I do it her way it's going to blow up in all our faces and then I'll get blamed for it, but I'm prohibited from saying anything about it.  And if I do it the right way behind her back or refuse to do it at all, I not only get done for insubordination, but they'll shove her misguided solution through anyway and then blame me when it blows up.

    And if I go around her and publish my concerns to her boss so that there's an audit trail, they come around and ask me why I can't work well with others.



  • @da Doctah said:

     I've been trying to figure out if there's any viable way out of the following scenario:

    Project leader has come up with some approach to a problem that she's convinced will work.  She's wrong.  Unfortunately, it's either that time of the month or she's just decided to quit smoking, so any attempt to point out the problems with her approach are met with a curt "shut up!"

    Now, I know that if I do it her way it's going to blow up in all our faces and then I'll get blamed for it, but I'm prohibited from saying anything about it.  And if I do it the right way behind her back or refuse to do it at all, I not only get done for insubordination, but they'll shove her misguided solution through anyway and then blame me when it blows up.

    And if I go around her and publish my concerns to her boss so that there's an audit trail, they come around and ask me why I can't work well with others.

    Start looking for another job, bro, and make sure you haven't got a female boss this time.

    Alternative leave a lovely paper trail (perhaps a "secret" diary) in which your concerns about this approach are <string>written down not just bleated in a pissing-contest meeting.

    Alternatively, pretend you have balls and refuse to be shouted down, and keep going till either you're listened to or she slaps you round the face. In both cases you've won. Anyone who tells a colleague to "shut up" in a meeting is on very thin managemental ice. At least, that's the way it works where I come from.



  • @da Doctah said:

     I've been trying to figure out if there's any viable way out of the following scenario:

    Project leader has come up with some approach to a problem that she's convinced will work.  She's wrong.  Unfortunately, it's either that time of the month or she's just decided to quit smoking, so any attempt to point out the problems with her approach are met with a curt "shut up!"

    Now, I know that if I do it her way it's going to blow up in all our faces and then I'll get blamed for it, but I'm prohibited from saying anything about it.  And if I do it the right way behind her back or refuse to do it at all, I not only get done for insubordination, but they'll shove her misguided solution through anyway and then blame me when it blows up.

    And if I go around her and publish my concerns to her boss so that there's an audit trail, they come around and ask me why I can't work well with others.

     I encounter this all the time. After 35+ years running my consulting firm here is what works (for me)

     1) Get her eaxt requirements in writing.
     2)  Responde with a detailed list of the exact steps you will perform.
     3) Respond in writing with any risks/concerns you have.
     4) Get a written acknowledgement to both of the above, along with explicit directions to follow step #1

    Do the work, and damn the result. When it does blow up, present the documentation supporting your actions.



  • Are you sure that you never said something like:

     "...10 hours, unless the scope requires changing major elements of the design, since I could end up working on each element for hours at a time"



  • @RichP said:

    Are you sure that you never said something like:

     "...10 hours, unless the scope requires changing major elements of the design, since I could end up working on each element for hours at a time"

    "If I estimate this project by the book, hours would seem like days."

    WOKTFY (Wrath Of Khanned That For You)



  • @Matt Westwood said:

    Never give a verbal quote. Do it by email at the very least. Then if it all gets nasty you can wave a piece of paper at his attorney.
     

    Fortunately for me, this was all done by email.



  • @TheCPUWizard said:

    1) Get her eaxt requirements in writing.
     2)  Responde with a detailed list of the exact steps you will perform.
     3) Respond in writing with any risks/concerns you have.
     4) Get a written acknowledgement to both of the above, along with explicit directions to follow step #1

    Do the work, and damn the result. When it does blow up, present the documentation supporting your actions.

     

    Note that steps 1 and 4 are not possible in an environment featuring simultaneous PMS and nicotine withdrawal.

     



  • @da Doctah said:

    @TheCPUWizard said:

    1) Get her eaxt requirements in writing.
     2)  Responde with a detailed list of the exact steps you will perform.
     3) Respond in writing with any risks/concerns you have.
     4) Get a written acknowledgement to both of the above, along with explicit directions to follow step #1

    Do the work, and damn the result. When it does blow up, present the documentation supporting your actions.

     

    Note that steps 1 and 4 are not possible in an environment featuring simultaneous PMS and nicotine withdrawal.

    Perhaps not. But that is also easily handled. Simple do NOTHING except send a daily update that all work is on hold until the information is recieved. Remember (except for pvery rare cases of slavery) there is always the opportunity to "walk" - and I have done it when the client is mandating certain actions that are in my professional opinion "bad" (which is very distinct from "not the way I would like to do it"). My reputation has taken nearly 40 years to be built to where it is, I will not risk it; and this means that unless there is a clear documentation trail that I have done my due diligence, and that the action is specifically mandated b the client, and that they take full responsibility, and that they will hold me blameless - it is simply not worth doing.



  • @da Doctah said:

    Note that steps 1 and 4 are not possible in an environment featuring simultaneous PMS and nicotine withdrawal.
     

    ...this is why you need to take notes and figure out her monthly schedule and try to stall accordingly. Do whatever you can to do things at the most opportune time so that you don't have to deal with the former issue. As for the latter issue, I suggest you start breaking indoor smoking laws and begin smoking in her presence. The second-hand nicotine could be just enough of a fix that she is more pleasant.

    I should write a book about these kinds of issues.



  • @RHuckster said:

    The second-hand nicotine...
    Unlikely. The amount of nicotine neither combusted or absorbed by the smoker is likely to be miniscule.



  • @RHuckster said:

    He responded saying, "Oh, well, if you can do it in 4 hours that would be great. I already gave the client a bid based on you doing it in 4 hours, and they just agreed. I'll give you the assets in a few days. If you do it in 10, I'll eat the cost, but I'd really like to avoid losing money on this."

    sigh Where on earth did I even utter "4 hours" in any of our discussions? Oh well, if he loses money because he wanted to bid low, that's his perogative. He's still bound to my invoice at the end of this.

    You didn't.  He did - to the client.  It was probably in a conversation that occurred even before you were involved.

    There are some people who feel it's a sign of weakness or incompetence to say, "I'll have to get back with you with an estimate".  So the estimate was given on the spot, with no actual analysis.  Personally, I feel it's a bigger sign of incompetence to not consult with the technical staff on the estimate if you're not technical, and still worse if you are technical but it's not your area.

    You should be encouraged - this guy is willing to go with your estimate, for the purposes of your work, even though he's stuck with the estimate he gave the client for billing.  Chances are good, over time, he'll learn to either make better estimates, or not give them up front.  Of course, he seemed to me to imply, "but I won't pay for anything over 10 hours."  He may or may not try to hold firm to that, but...



  • @RHuckster said:

    @da Doctah said:

    Note that steps 1 and 4 are not possible in an environment featuring simultaneous PMS and nicotine withdrawal.
     

    ...this is why you need to take notes and figure out her monthly schedule and try to stall accordingly. Do whatever you can to do things at the most opportune time so that you don't have to deal with the former issue. As for the latter issue, I suggest you start breaking indoor smoking laws and begin smoking in her presence. The second-hand nicotine could be just enough of a fix that she is more pleasant.

    I should write a book about these kinds of issues.

    "... breaking indoor smoking laws ..." Sheesh, absolutely not in the UK. For better or worse, anti-smoking laws are taken very seriously over here.

    But all that's beside the point. Any boss who says "Shut up!" to a member of a team trying to contribute to a design meeting is so far outside the norms of professional conduct, it needs to be addressed there and then with action. Making excuses for it, bowing down to it, letting it carry on, is completely unacceptable.



  • @Matt Westwood said:

    But all that's beside the point. Any boss who says "Shut up!" to a member of a team trying to contribute to a design meeting is so far outside the norms of professional conduct, it needs to be addressed there and then with action. Making excuses for it, bowing down to it, letting it carry on, is completely unacceptable.

    I wouldn't go so far as to say any boss. There are a lot of people who need to be told to shut up.



  • @Matt Westwood said:

    "... breaking indoor smoking laws ..." Sheesh, absolutely not in the UK. For better or worse, anti-smoking laws are taken very seriously over here.
     

    Here too.  You'd get less fallout raping a kitten in front of a room full of shareholders than you would firing up a Tareyton.



  • @da Doctah said:

    Here too.  You'd get less fallout raping a kitten in front of a room full of shareholders than you would firing up a Tareyton.

    What about a Marlboro?



  • @Matt Westwood said:

    But all that's beside the point. Any boss who says "Shut up!" to a member of a team trying to contribute to a design meeting is so far outside the norms of professional conduct, it needs to be addressed there and then with action. Making excuses for it, bowing down to it, letting it carry on, is completely unacceptable.

    100% correct, a boss needs to be effective, and telling an idiot to shutup rarely works. However duct tape can do wonders.

     --
    [This account has been hijacked, and the owner of it did NOT post the above comment]



  • @boomzilla said:

    @Matt Westwood said:
    But all that's beside the point. Any boss who says "Shut up!" to a member of a team trying to contribute to a design meeting is so far outside the norms of professional conduct, it needs to be addressed there and then with action. Making excuses for it, bowing down to it, letting it carry on, is completely unacceptable.

    I wouldn't go so far as to say any boss. There are a lot of people who need to be told to shut up.

    Maybe they do, but you take such people aside and discuss their behaviour with them privately and civilly. Snapping "Shut up!" at them in a meeting is unprofessional.

    Having said that, we have only heard one side of the story. Maybe the poster who was told to shut up has real communication difficulties and was really being irritating, and the boss was at the end of her tether. It may well have been that he was right, and needed his point of view to be heard, but was making a complete prick of himself. It's more than possible he flipped his bozo bit.</p?



  • @da Doctah said:

     I've been trying to figure out if there's any viable way out of the following scenario:

    Project leader has come up with some approach to a problem that she's convinced will work.  She's wrong.  Unfortunately, it's either that time of the month or she's just decided to quit smoking, so any attempt to point out the problems with her approach are met with a curt "shut up!"

    Now, I know that if I do it her way it's going to blow up in all our faces and then I'll get blamed for it, but I'm prohibited from saying anything about it.  And if I do it the right way behind her back or refuse to do it at all, I not only get done for insubordination, but they'll shove her misguided solution through anyway and then blame me when it blows up.

    And if I go around her and publish my concerns to her boss so that there's an audit trail, they come around and ask me why I can't work well with others.

     

    A big part of what you do depends on how she's viewed by her superiors. If she's a "golden child" or someone's neice, then no matter how well you document your concerns an regardless of how Herculean your effort at making her POS plan work are, you'll get blamed. And it's even easier to blame you if you've documented your concerns...they just end up being proof that your sabotaged the effort. In that case, I agree with the "look for another job, bro" comment.

     If, OTOH, management "knows" she's a loose cannon and has had issues with others in the past, then the "grow a pair, document everything" approach is probably sound.

     

     



  • @Matt Westwood said:

    @boomzilla said:
    @Matt Westwood said:
    But all that's beside the point. Any boss who says "Shut up!" to a member of a team trying to contribute to a design meeting is so far outside the norms of professional conduct, it needs to be addressed there and then with action. Making excuses for it, bowing down to it, letting it carry on, is completely unacceptable.

    I wouldn't go so far as to say any boss. There are a lot of people who need to be told to shut up.

    Maybe they do, but you take such people aside and discuss their behaviour with them privately and civilly. Snapping "Shut up!" at them in a meeting is unprofessional.

    Having said that, we have only heard one side of the story. Maybe the poster who was told to shut up has real communication difficulties and was really being irritating, and the boss was at the end of her tether. It may well have been that he was right, and needed his point of view to be heard, but was making a complete prick of himself. It's more than possible he flipped his bozo bit.

     

    It's pretty much all speculation now, nobody but the OP was there.  And of course from the OP's perspective, the boss is being an unreasonable bitch.

    That said, as sexist as it may be, I have noticed female managers and leaders tend to be quite bitchy.  I don't know why, thinking it might be related to them wanting to "show the boys how it's done" which of course only leads to alienation and shoddy work.

    As with most situations, as soon as people let their egos enter the arena, everything goes to hell.

     


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