I got a note from a regular reader of the screed who was kind enough to send along today’s topic. I’ll let him tee it up (not, it’s not golf) for you. He’s a smart developer who works solo, like so many of us do these days. Here’s the situation:
I will be provided with an RFP shortly, along with 4 other entities. Although I think I have the inside track, I am battling the perception from the CEO that I am a one-man-band. My estimation is that the project is 4 man-months of work if I do it single-handedly but the CEO wants to go from RPF to implementation in 2 months.
To win this contract I must partner with others to combat the one-man-band perception and to get the project completed within the desired time-frame.
As a sage man of business, you could probably give me some good advice on how to battle the negative perceptions so I can win this contract, which I would appreciate. I also think my predicament might serve as good subject matter for your blog.
Indeed it does! My advice to him was to do a little sales jiu-jitsu – turn the negative into a positive. In a time when it seems everyone I meet is either a consultant, a contract employee, or even a short-staffed manager, none of us are one man bands. Everyone I know pulls in additional folks from time to time and I’m willing to bet the CEO (or his managers) do that as well. A big advantage we independent folks have is that we’re no/low overhead operations. You’re not paying for a nice building, multiple layers of staff, or large benefit programs. Most of us are generally very senior and have been fully vetted and battle-tested. There are no junior people on your account and it’s much easier for us to adjust to the right size team whilst people with entrenched staff can’t just up and hire and fire.
Another big advantage is the trust factor. Those of us with lengthy high-level careers can generally be trusted to get the job done within the allocated time frame and budget and to let you know ahead of time if it’s going to be an issue. If the CEO in question is dubious, build in some safeguards – penalties if the job isn’t done on time or additional fees if it’s done ahead of schedule or under budget.
Am I being self-serving here? Maybe. Then again, perhaps one can be right and self-serving at the same time. Hit up the comments and let me know, and keep those topic suggestions coming.