Napoleon Lego

Pure Evil or stupidity?

by daniel on November 17, 2009

(photo © Dunechaser)
Last month I’ve been to two different customers. Although both customers are in a similar situation, of having a partial system needing work, it was a very different experience, one on the border of meeting pure evilness.

The two customers received a customized system, ready to be used with work remaining until it becomes operational. Both of the customers still need to work with us for completing the system and providing a full solution.

In spite the similar situation, the behavior of each customer is completely different. The first customer is completely cooperative, trying to make an effort so information flows in both direction and try to have a positive interaction moving the project forward to a suitable solution. The other customer is completely different; he’s uncooperative, trying to shift blame and accusations instead of information, looking for a reason to make the supplier provide documents instead of solving the real problems.

Discussing the difference with Mr. G, the responsible sales manager, we came up with several reasons for this different behavior:

1. Different cultures: some countries are notorious for being more xenophobe, thus giving a cultural background of not trusting the supplier.

2. Different organizational cultures: some organizations are less trusting, believing that the supplier is an enemy, compared with other organizations believing in cooperation and mutual benefit.

3. Young project managers: some organizations use the first position as a screening process, helping new employees to become familiar with the organization by being project managers as first position. Normally such employees have less experience and are more influenced by the organizational culture.

4. Experience: related to previous reason, young project managers, less experienced, probably don’t have the know how of making a relationship with a supplier work for the benefit of both sides and prefer to take a more cautious approach to the dealing with the supplier.

5. Personal contacts: since sales of customized projects have a long term evolution, relations between sales, project management and managers reflect the long term relationship, thus brining personal relationship to the project management. in cases where the relationship is good, the project management will be easier to handle.

Each of the influences can be reflected on the project management and in turn change how each side views the other. Unfortunately, one must also take into account the long standing quote from napoleon I: “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence. “  WebCitations

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