Has being "the client" changed your view on consulting?

I’m writing an article about client work, and the things I have realised now that I am the client, rather than being the contractor.

I actually wish I’d had the experience of being a client before I had clients as it is eye-opening the things that developers do or don’t do and how that feels when it is your project.

Just wondered if anyone else had things they would do differently, or do differently (if you are still consulting) based on your experience hiring people.

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You know how the developers are ready to spend weeks to make the code perfect? I don’t care about that anymore. I want the working code, quick and cheap. :smiley:

I have expressed the views just leaning towards this during my consulting conversations, and stunned some of my design purist co-workers. I understand that, I would be stunned too – before I had to pay my own money for the unnecessary perfection.


I’ve made that transition out of consulting (temporarily) and I’ve been interviewing a few consultants in the past few weeks. I think, if anything, it makes me want to up my game when I go back to consulting later in the year: better proposals, better initial meetings etc. :smile:

I also immediately knew why the consultants were asking particular questions (“Who else is involved in the decision-making?”) and I had a lot of empathy for them (trying to get back to them promptly, give specific dates, be specific in my initial project enquiry etc.)

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Oh indeed! As a consultant I obsessed over code aesthetics and doing things “the right way”, which usually meant, according to whatever blog post I had recently read and been persuaded by.

Now, as the client? Don’t make it gold-plated, just get it done! And everything must be focussed on increasing our revenue/decreasing our support load.

I’ve also learnt to love consultants who:

  • do what they say they’ll do
  • do it when they say they’ll do it
  • communicate frequently and clearly with me
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I feel the same way. Being the “the client” and launching my own saas has almost sabotaged my 9-5 programming career in ways I didn’t expect.

My co-workers spends loads of time gold plating features that end users have never seen or provided feedback on. I’m constantly trying to remind them about importance of customer feedback, understanding how your users are currently using the application and running “leaner”.

The other day the team I’m currently on spent hours implementing “fluff” UI features that nobody asked for. Its really frustrating to have to ask “did our users request that?”.

Just knowing the basics of internet marketing has been proving to be frustrating too. Company I currently work for spent 18 months working on a new website. I ask simple things like “whats your current conversion rate?” or “whats your most visited page in google analytics?” and people respond with “oh do we even have google analytics installed?”.

I wasn’t prepared for this at all. When I quit my job the last time I knew I could just get another one and try again. I didn’t realize I’d be constantly frustrated by my very talented but programmer-only co-workers.

I think if I never get a product off the ground I have a future in some kind of software marketing consultant or something but I don’t have the credentials for that yet.

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