The general procedure that I evolved for carrying out client assignments is as follows.
- Find out enough about your business and tell you enough about his so together you can identify those of your activities to which his areas of expertise relate, or to which his knowledge, techniques and skills can be applied.
- Identify assignments within your current projects of the kind which will benefit from being done this way - assignments like planning a project, writing a specification, designing a data structure, developing some software, or providing telephone or call-out support for systems and software in the field.
- Provide a summary of each assignment you give him, incorporating any changes you may require for it to meet with your approval. Included would be a staged plan suggesting how the work could be done, and an acceptance schedule against which each stage of the plan may be checked for correctness and completeness.
- Gather all necessary input information by interview and from existing documentation, listings and demonstrations. This is usually supplemented later by other information and answers to questions obtained by telephone, fax and data transmission, or by mail in printed form or on diskette.
- Carry out the work off-site using his own in-house facilities, thus reducing demand on your resources. Reports are provided at the end of each stage. On-site approval meetings and acceptance tests are also conducted if required. Interim progress reports, amendments to documentation and software fixes are expedited by telephone, fax, data transmission or a diskette in the mail.
- Provide sporadic on-demand assistance after the assignment has been completed, thus maximising your investment in the initial learning curve and minimising support turn-round time.
Most IT projects - whatever their size - can be broken down into a number of readily demarcateable assignments. Some of these assignments, because of their size and nature, may require a large interactive team located in permanent central accommodation with expensive equipment and facilities.
Other assignments - again by virtue of their size and nature - can be done better, quicker and more cost-effectively by an individual working for the most part in isolation who can be hired complete with built-in accommodation, equipment and facilities when required. Assignments which fall into this second category benefit greatly from the concentrated creative effort inspired by the quiet, conducive, interruption-free environment from which I have provided good service to clients for many years.
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©Apr 1994 Robert John Morton