Consultant's tips&tricks - Introduce a client to your superiors

Sometimes, a client can be demanding as hell. And their requirements can go so beyond the scope, that it isn’t funny anymore. However, sometimes they have really tough negotiators on their side, and you need to seek help.


Sure enough, if you are careful about the documentation, you will easily be in the position where you can say to the customer:

Hey, here is the SOW, we agreed not to do XY for this implementation phase (or at all). If you want that, we will write CR (Change Request) and estimate it properly.

The attitude here is also important. You NEVER want to sound like a jerk even if you are a million times right. Try to sound friendly, like you are sincerely trying to help out (which you are) looking for every possible solution, meaning that you can expand on a statement like:

Your requirement XY is really going to affect:

  • Maintenance - because we need to implement additional scripts/custom actions
  • Performance - because that will affect the speed of the system by triggering additional logic
  • Storage - because we need to e.g. double the fields, add new UI layer to it, etc.

I think adding this kind of logic will affect performance in a significant way. Plus, if you take a look at the SOW, we did not scope it. (And then you go back to CR story)

Of course, this will be more than sufficient in ~65 - 70 % of cases. And it can be settled on a regular weekly call with the client or via email.

However, sometimes in corporations big enough, key stakeholders don’t have time for weekly meetings and prefer email (looooong email chains). They also see that as a more convenient opportunity to be pushy. At some point - and usually, that is a point where you reached the top of your “Mr. Nice Guy” zone and the top of your accountability - you need to reroute the client to your seniors/product or project managers.

If you were sitting with the client in the same building (yeah, like that is often a case) - it would be easy. If your seniors are present on regular calls - it would be easy. Instead, you need to accomplish that with the email. In my experience, the best way to put it is something like this:

“Hi [Client],

I’m copying [Manager 1] and [Manager 2] into this discussion. They are from the product management group.

[Manager 1], [Manager 2] - Meet [Client] - he/she is the IT lead for [XYZ] project. They have a requirement of automated archiving/purging data after a certain period of time. Can you let us know if we have this in our release queue or if/when is this feature being planned for?


I now see that you can use this as a template. Feel free to do it. Sometimes, you need to let your superiors handle the situation, especially if you have your task list growing already and need to focus on the actual work.

Written on August 20, 2017