Have you read or noticed how many IT projects fail? They fail in all kinds of ways: budget blowouts, failure to achieve their business goals, lack of business uptake, or just plain old crummy software. I have to admit that I've been onboard on some "Titanic" projects myselfthey could not possibly fail, and yet we all ended up scrambling for the life rafts. I started to jot down a list of reasons I could see for project failure. I guess I could have been scribbling disaster reasons until they closed the café. Here's hoping these selections help you on your next project.
Think You Are Smarter than Your Customers
"All customers are stupid!" This is an actual quote from a developer on one of my projects. Hard to see how a person who feels that way can ever effectively consult to clients, let alone have a good time doing it. I remembered the shock I had on hearing the remark. My "holier-than-thou" attitude lasted about a minute. It was then that I discovered a terrible secret: I thought the same thing! Sure, I never said it, but it existed as a thought pattern somewhere deep inside.
Guess what? Customers can tell what you really think about them. They know when you're pretending to attribute intelligence to them, while at the same time sniggering up your sleeve. You may, in spite of your attitude, dazzle them with your technical brilliance. Scoring points on your customer is always so satisfying, right? It comes with a cost, though.
Your attitude has created a wall between the customer and you.
How can you get through a wall like this? You will need a whole lot of trust to understand what the customer really wants. If you don't have communication flowing throughout your project, you will never supply the solution the customer wants.
The catch is this: You can never truly succeed in the long-term if you think you're superior to your clients. You may meet deadlines, complete the project, and receive payment, but don't expect any more "dates." You are destined to have a series of one-time client engagements. Even if you seem to succeed in the short term, you have actually failed.
By the way, if your customer is stupid, why did they hire you? Don't get me started on that one!
Bottom line: Check your arrogance at the door.