• Subject: Re: Programmers VS Consultants
  • From: Jim Langston <jlangston@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 09:43:51 -0800
  • Organization: Conex Global Logistics Services, Inc.

Comments in line

Bob Larkin wrote:

> << Phasers(*STUN) RantMode(*ON)>>
>
> That is a particularly OFFENSIVE remark.
>
> 1. QUIT SHOUTING. It is common knowledge that using ALL CAPS is either
> shouting, or a message from someone who does not know how to operate a
> keyboard.

Definitely turn off the Caps Lock.  Agreed.

> 2. A consultant provides a service, just like a doctor, lawyer,
> cobbler, or mechanic. As a matter of fact, this is called commerce.
> Most people (except politicians) provide goods or services in return
> for compensation.

Of course.

> 3. Do you think a doctor injects you with toxins, just to guarantee a
> return visit. Or possibly, the mechanic tinkers with your car so you
> must return? Maybe you believe a lawyer would drag out a case, just
> for bigger fees? Oh well, two outta three isn't bad.

I've known mechanics to tinker with cars so people must return.  Of
course,
it is not the type of mechanic I would take my car to, but did, in fact,
once
take my car to one before I realized how he operated.  Needless to say,
I
never went back.

I've known of lawyers to drag out cases (okay, not personally, only from

hearsay).  I don't think a Doctor would ever do that.

I think it comes down to how apt they are to get sued.  If a doctor
screws
with your body, and it is found out, he would be in court, broke and in
jail
so fast it would make a Cray look slow.  On the other hand, if a
mechanic
messes with your car, it is much harder to prove, and is not as apt to
get
sued in the first place.  And Lawyers, they just live for suing and
being
sued anyway.

Not all mechanics, lawyers or consults would do this though. I think it
is
basically just a sense of morality.  You either got it, or you don't.

> 4. Often time the "short term solutions" I have encountered were
> performed by employees. In all fairness, there are a variety of
> issues, such as a lack of time to do it right, lack of education,
> improper tools, or even the urge to become the "key person", by
> creating a monster that only the employee can keep at bay.

I knew of one co worker who got fired/layed off.  He told me that he
would
be called back in to fix things in his programs because he was the only
one
who could figure it out.  He was called in once, but then after I
learned their
system enough I was fixing his code (*shudder* I hate to remember that
code,
it was horrible, some of the worst I've ever seen).

I've also seen code that was horrible just because the programmer didn't
know
what in the heck he was doing (like the legacy code I am currently
working on,
*shudder*).

And then, I've seen bad hacks from managers who tell a programmer not to

spend the time on it, just to get it to work, they didn't care how it
worked as
long as it worked and was done yesterday.  My response to these request
have always been, "I can do it fast, or I can do it right.  Which do you
want?"
which usually stops this, but some programmers just buckle under and
kludge
something together, which they then get to spend the next year
maintaining
and debugging in a live system.

> 5. A true consultant will identify problems and their causes, then
> work towards developing and implementing a solution that suits the
> client's needs. Some consultants will actually code the solution, some
> will write specs, others might direct the coding. This varies from
> consultant to consultant, as well as the client.

Yeah.

> In my fifteen years as a consultant, after leaving one of the Fortune
> 100, I have attempted to provide all of my clients with solutions that
> fit their situation. I have often had three month assignments become
> longer term engagements, and have been called back for repeat
> engagements. Was it because I created a need for my services? YES. I
> showed my clients how I could contribute to the profitability of their
> organization. And that is what makes commerce work. Provide a quality
> service that others need, at a price they can afford, in a timely
> manner.

Good answer <g>  I have always been called back because I do a
darn good job.  I'm an in-house programmer, but have done some
consulting work.  I want to be called back because my customer liked
my work so much they they want me to do something else for them.  Or
they've recommended me to someone else.  I absolutely hate revisiting
a problem I've already dealt with.  And, if I get called back to fix
something
that I screwed up on, I don't charge them.

> <<Phasers(*OFF) RantMode(*OFF)>>
>
> One last thought. What did this remark have to do with the original
> post?  If you will read the original post (as quoted below), you will
> see that it appears to be referring only to EMPLOYEES, within a
> company.

I have no idea.

>         Are there any companies where the programmers play a
>      consultant role rather
>      than a programming role.
>
I kinda play both kinds of roles here, plus everything else.  Like a lot
of AS/400
shops, I'm it.  If it plugs into the wall I deal with it sooner or
later.  From fixing
answering machines, to recommending coffee pots, to changing toner in
the copier,
to wiring the network, to maintaining the system, to writing new
programs, to
fixing old programs to accept new data, to analyzing hardware, to
everything
else.

There just ain't enough hours in the day.

>      What  Pros and Cons are there?  These consultants would be
>      directed by the
>      individual company areas and report to a manager for
>      resource management.
>
Huh?

>      Has anyone done this?  And if so, how can a manager keep
>      the
>      Consultant/Programmers as a team?
>
Umm...  Re-read previous response <g>

Perhaps I am a bit confused as to what you consider a consultant rather
than
a programmer/analyst?  What do you consider to be the difference?

Regards,

Jim Langston
Programmer/Analyst

1.  Succeed
2.  If NOT Succeed GOTO 1

> Bob Larkin
> Consultant (and darn proud of it)
>
> JGracetri@aol.com wrote:
>
>> HOW DOES A CONSULTANT MAKE MONEY? ANSWER. BILLING YOU FOR HOURS
>> WORKED.
>>
>> *NOTE. UNLESS YOU HAVE SOMEONE TO OVERSEE THE CONSULTANT. YOU WILL
>> GET A
>> SHORT TERM SOLUTION(I.E. A PRGRAM OR SYSTEM THAT WILL REQUIRE THE
>> CONSULTANT
>> AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, SO THE PROGRAM OR SYTEM IS DESIGNED TO BE
>> OUTDATED FROM
>> DAY OF IMPLEMENTATION).
>

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