posted on Saturday, May 26, 2007 12:01 AM
The Thing You Cannot Touch
I have this theory about consulting. I call it The Thing You Cannot Touch. Since a few friends have found it amusing I thought I'd share. It goes like this:
A potential client contacts your firm. A conference call is arranged to discuss the issue. During the call, the issue is defined. Resolution theories and attempts to date are shared, along with their results. The current status is explained - along with
The Thing You Cannot Touch.
Sometimes an attempt at justification accompanies the announcement: "We know it can't possibly be _______ so we're not going to waste any time looking at it."
Other times, it's just put out there for what it is: "You can't touch _______."
My experience has shown the heart of the issue almost always lies with The Thing You Cannot Touch. It needs to be fixed but someone, somewhere, for some reason does not believe it to be so - and so it Cannot Be Touched.
Sometimes it's political - It's someone's "baby". They built this application just ten short years ago - worked nights and weekends and toiled and sweated and bled to make it work - and rode it all the way to CIO, after all. Who are you, lowly consultant, to tell them VB 6 code should be re-written in this new fad known as .Net? Doesn't Vista support VB 6 until the mid-20-teens?
Sometimes the decision-maker doesn't understand the differences in the technologies.
Sometimes it's a purely market-driven business decision - and the decision-maker is right and justified in choosing to keep hands off The Thing. It's not all about technology folks... it's sometimes about what I like to describe as the (little "s") software (big "B") Business.
If you find yourself on a consulting conference call and The Thing You Cannot Touch comes up, pay attention. Tomorrow I tell you how to Manage The Thing You Cannot Touch.
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