How Many Engineers Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb and Why is it so Damned Expensive
by Jay Abramovitz, President
How many times have you been given a proposal and your immediate response is to start from the end, wherein lies the omnipresent table of price and schedule. No manner of training can prepare you for appreciating the journey. You search only for the destination, and damn it, if the destination doesn’t match your expectations, the journey is dead.
- Where does the fault lie?
- How can a meticulous proposal be differentiated from excessive profiteering?
- How can you see the worth of a proposal through the forest of trees?
The Consulting Company wishes to describe the journey, to name the apparatus that allows the travel, to define the road that led to the destination, and to put the parts together into a comprehensible vehicle. All this while trying to second guess the client’s cost sensitivity and determining whether choosing the color red dooms the project to the recycling bin. One issue is the proposal response is a negotiated response. The client feels the project is fully vetted, and all important aspects of the project have been fully articulated. But the proposal response tries to nuance the parts of the project that have not been expressed. Even on a Requirements Document that has seen repeated review, the actual implementation will absolutely differ from paper design**.
As a resume does not fully describe the person, so the proposal does not fully define the Consulting Company.
All these questions and no answers. Let’s start with …
Engineering Lightbulb Answers
- If it’s a Software Engineer, … none, … Redirect the issue as a bug in Hardware … unless it’s a bug lite
- If marketing is involved, … did the software guy say Bud Lite?
- If it’s a Microsoft Engineer, … none, … redefine DARK as the industry standard.
- If a Requirements Document is not created, … one to design a nuclear-powered light bulb that never needs changing, one to figure out how to power the rest of the USA using that nuked light bulb, …
- If HR is involved, … one but it should want to be changed
- If QA is not involved, … fromally deside on eror and sitting darken
- If Documentation is not included …
And back to the core question, choosing is never as simple as ensuring all the checkboxes are selected and the final number is within range. The proposal, no matter how meticulous, is never the full answer. For as important as the documents defining the project, equally important is ensuring the structure is solid, that the proposer looks you in the eye, that you kicked the tires.
And lastly, don’t get in the car if the journey can not be both profitable and enjoyable.