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Ovid (2709)

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Stuff with the Perl Foundation. A couple of patches in the Perl core. A few CPAN modules. That about sums it up.

Journal of Ovid (2709)

Tuesday July 29, 2003
10:19 AM

Customer Satisfaction

[ #13756 ]

Customers generally have no problem letting me know what they want. Even if their specifications are vague, by asking a few questions, I can usually get things nailed down.

Until we get to the "where's the data" part. Why is it that customers who ask for a product that does two hundred and seventeen things and also washes your dishes seem to think that the data will just "magically" appear? What's even worse are the clients who don't know what their data is until you slowly, painfully show them the light.

Me: Is the price attached to the product, or will different options of colors and sizes affect the price?

Him: For 99.9% of the products, options will not affect the price.

Me (after a slight pause): Then can you give me any examples of a product whose prices will change if the options change?

Him: There aren't any.

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  • Hedging (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dws (341) on 2003.07.29 10:39 (#22510) Homepage Journal
    "In 99.9% of the cases" is hedging, and hedging is a good thing. It shows that your customers have learned not to think in absolutes, And it gives you the opportunity to probe (which makes them think further). That's a far better situation then having them say "In 100% of the cases, No!", only to discover later--after you're well into implementation--that there's this messy little "Yes" case 0.1% of the time.
    • Hedge Fun (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yeah, they don't like to think in absolutes, so they hedge, so they need to realize that there's a cost involved.

      "We might maybe potentially possibly add some Foo down the road, some time, in the future, but we're not sure when, if ever."

      "OK, so should we also build into the system the capability of handling Foo? I'll need to revise estimates of the project, but offhand I'd say it'll be at least two more weeks. It'll be harder to maintain, too, but I can't quite put a time on that." (or $x,000 more dol



    • Re:Hedging (Score:3, Informative)

      Sometimes hedging is a good thing, particularly when it's from the motivations you've named. Other times it's a knee-jerk CYA reaction because saying "sometimes" means you can duck responsibility when someone later calls you on it. (No, I'm not bitter...)

      Of course, the counterattack for this is to pin them down on what "sometimes" means, how often it happens, how to recognize it, etc., as others have discussed here.