My Secret Life as a Spaghetti Coder
home | about | contact | privacy statement
Relating to customers is something I like to be reminded of from time to time. After all, we're not in this business to be code-monkeys. Our actions serve some purpose, and that purpose is not generally to chunk out code. In other words, code has no intrinsic value. Its value is realized in the business purpose it serves.

(One caveat - I suppose the code written in Office Space and similar schemes had intrisic value, since it's purpose was its value.)

The customer from hell has been brought up in a few places recently. Most prominently at Peter Bell's blog (and within the comments), and also by that kinky student, Ben Nadel in the comments to being passionate about your job.

In one of Peter's posts, he asks if developers create bad clients. Certainly we can (and do) create bad clients, but at what rate is it our fault? If I had to guess at a number, it would be "a lot."

People will generally respond as you'd like if you just take the time to communicate your wishes with them. As Peter noted, our indecision, mishandled errors, and badly positioned boundaries will tend to create those clients from hell. And what do all of these have in common? It appears to me that they all revolve around poor communication.

I've been thinking about that one today - about the clients I couldn't stand and contrasting those relationships with the customers from whom I couldn't wait for a new project. In every case I could think of, I had poor communication with the bad clients, and excellent communication with the good ones. Some of the bad communication was the customer's fault - they simply didn't have the time to devote to a project or didn't care to do so. Most of it was my fault.

That's not enough to prove anything on it's own, since the type and amount of communication could have been a result of self selection. I might have chosen to communicate with the customer's I enjoyed working with, and refused to talk with the dreaded ones. But you have to admit, it's at least an interesting coincidence.

Hey! Why don't you make your life easier and subscribe to the full post or short blurb RSS feed? I'm so confident you'll love my smelly pasta plate wisdom that I'm offering a no-strings-attached, lifetime money back guarantee!

Leave a comment

I read a great article on Sitepoint yesterday that seemed slightly relevant to this. It's primarily about dealing with customer complaints, but I guess it all comes down to good communication.

Posted by duncan on Oct 23, 2007 at 03:41 AM UTC - 5 hrs

Awesome, thanks Duncan. That sort of reminds me of a conversation I was having the other day about wanting your customers to succeed, rather than complaining about their requests.

Posted by Sam on Oct 23, 2007 at 04:37 PM UTC - 5 hrs

Leave a comment

Leave this field empty
Your Name
Email (not displayed, more info?)


Subcribe to this comment thread
Remember my details

Picture of me

.NET (19)
AI/Machine Learning (14)
Answers To 100 Interview Questions (10)
Bioinformatics (2)
Business (1)
C and Cplusplus (6)
cfrails (22)
ColdFusion (78)
Customer Relations (15)
Databases (3)
DRY (18)
DSLs (11)
Future Tech (5)
Games (5)
Groovy/Grails (8)
Hardware (1)
IDEs (9)
Java (38)
JavaScript (4)
Linux (2)
Lisp (1)
Mac OS (4)
Management (15)
MediaServerX (1)
Miscellany (76)
OOAD (37)
Productivity (11)
Programming (168)
Programming Quotables (9)
Rails (31)
Ruby (67)
Save Your Job (58)
scriptaGulous (4)
Software Development Process (23)
TDD (41)
TDDing xorblog (6)
Tools (5)
Web Development (8)
Windows (1)
With (1)
YAGNI (10)

Agile Manifesto & Principles
Principles Of OOD
Ruby on Rails

RSS 2.0: Full Post | Short Blurb
Subscribe by email:

Delivered by FeedBurner