Dealing with non-educated Clients / Project Managers.

Boian Ivanov on May 23, 2018

I presume at some point, each one of you have had to deal with clients that did not know what they wanted from their project or project managers ... [Read Full]
 

You may want to convert your users to tools to create GIF, the explanation will be quicker. I use Peek on Linux, you may want to use ScreenToGif on Windows (No idea for Mac)
What You See Is What You Debug aka WYSIWYD. Text or screenshot are not always enough (whether bugs are in spreadsheets or in tracker issues)

 

It's not clear to me whether the frustration is with the tool or the things being reported in the tool.

Eg you could report a 2px difference in a bug tracking system, also. The issue with that one seems like a print-world perspective, which wouldn't be mitigated by better tooling (I'll assume you're correct and it isn't a reasonable expectation on the web).

If the issue is the tools themselves, then I don't think the article makes it clear why the tools are failing. Perhaps the spreadsheet makes it difficult to identify duplication and thus the same issue shows up on 20 different rows. Perhaps the lack of support for first-class conversations around the issue leads to discussions through other channels which are then not reflected in the spreadsheet / word document. Perhaps multiple versions of the documents are floating around, making it difficult to know which is the most recent (or worse, multiple divergent copies), or perhaps everyone edits the word document with different conventions making it difficult to keep track of who said what and what the state of the document was at the time they said it. But if any of these are the frustration, the article doesn't make that clear.

 

First of all, thank you or your response. To address some of your points, yes, maybe some of my points were not fully clear. I have to say that while writing this article I was frustrated at the system , at the project manager and at the clients, so that could have added to the "unclear" nature of the article.
My frustrations were actually with everything addressed, but mostly the issue was the project manager. He, not knowing how to use any of the tools for the job, opted to begin bug reporting using spreadsheets and I'm generally blaming him. Maybe the clients contributed to the whole mess, being a big company and having a lot of people writing on one spreadsheet, not knowing their colleagues' opinions.
Other than that I'm all for you, the issues that you added, are real life issues that I have had with this project. Multiple versions of a file, same issue reported on multiple places, issues like "Blue links are too blue" have been real "issues" that we had.
Sorry if you thought that this article was just a kid complaining, but those are the issues that people in tech companies have on daily bases and it's good for them to be addressed.

 

Oh, I wasn't trying to put it down or anything.

My point was that the example of being 2 pixels off didn't sound like a problem with spreadsheets. Probably I was curious what the issues with the spreadsheet were, b/c I wouldn't have automatically assumed it would be a problem. Eg if someone said "lets use a spreadsheet", I'd probably say "okay, sure", until I hit some issue with it. So I was curious what issues you were hitting, figured it would sharpen my sense of what to require in a tool.

Regarding things like "blue links are too blue", I think I'd be okay with that, presuming you have some way to sit down with them and tweak the hex until you arrive at the desired blueness. Maybe the PM gets in the way there, IDK, but I wouldn't expect someone to know that precisely what they want, so some ability to figure it out with them is important.

Ok, so my core issue is the tools selection for the job. A spreadsheet is really difficult to manage, especially without correct setup. Having 5 people add to a spreadsheet, without each one of them reading previous issues and marking issues as complete, or marking a complete issue as an incomplete one by the clients, is a mess doing it in a spreadsheet that doesn't have any way of managing it.
If at some points columns, filters and so forth are added, it maybe could get a tiny bit better, but it's still miles away from current ways of doing with that kind of issue management.
I can say, to a good extend, that I have lost more than half a month just answering to issues that are either non-existent or already fixed, but because they were reported many times and/or the client doesn't really understand were/how they were solved they're either still "open" issues or reported again. That's a lot of development time lost in answering and explanations to client questions.

 

I know what you feel, bro. The same in my company, and worse: my team has members don't have a software development background, and the stakeholders, don't know well how to use software (there're tales about some users didn't know how to use a mouse).

Although, I try everyday to convince to use Trello for the team but only we the developers, use it. The other members use drafts papers to annotate everything.

The "QA" team use word for recording the test results haha..

How I deal with that? Before coding, I try to imagine all the exceptions for malintentioned user behaving and then when I do coding in a way to reduce the failed tests and also do integration tests manually (that belongs to QA): I do more work that I should.

If my english is not very bad, you can notice that I have not solved that, just do my best effort and learning from that every day. I propose every month new point of view, frameworks, posts, etc. but the real solution is to leave the company.

 

Take a break, go drink some pinacolada and soak some Sun. Everything else is normal. That is how the world works.

 

Yes, true, but why should it? We have the power to change it.
If we continue having that way of thinking, nothing will change. So shouldn't we push for change ?

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