Shrunken Head

I usually reserve my rants about my clients to an audience of one: my mother. But this particular client deserves a post all her own. THAT’S how clueless she is.

I signed on to handle the website development for her fledgling company, where I do content, project management, and client liaison, and I have 2 developers and 1 designer doing their shtick. UX also falls into my bucket, even though I am a total noob at it. Thankfully, a static information site requires very little in terms of UX.

All of this is fine, except I’ve landed a client who needs a shrink more than a website developer. She hasn’t the tiniest concept of agile project development, no matter which single-syllable words I use to explain it, and cannot comprehend why she has to make decisions for work to move forward. One day, last year, I get an irate conference call from her an her hapless husband about how things are just not moving forward. This is after sending her multiple reminders to check content and wireframes.

At that moment, I was forced into a corner, and I got verbal confirmation from her that I would make all the calls, but she wouldn’t be able to change much thereafter. Because once pages are designed, it is difficult to move elements around. Once they are developed though? The engineers will draw and quarter me. So that’s how in a few weeks’ time, we had a functioning website up and running.

Of course, since then I have become Heroine & Saviour. So now I get calls about stuff where she wants my opinion on stuff that has the most fleeting connection to the website. I sit through the calls patiently enough, because I don’t actually have to say anything. She needs a listener, and yours truly has drawn that particular straw.

But last month really took the cake.

I asked her to consult a lawyer for the legal notices necessary to include on the website: terms of use, privacy policy, and so on. Not being an advocate myself, I cannot possibly write up those documents. It would be unethical and irresponsible, and goes totally against my grain. Anyway, she called a family friend, and he promised to get back to her.

I was pleasantly surprised when he did, fairly promptly I might add, but both the feelings of pleasantness and surprise faded considerably, when I saw that he had sent her documents for a completely different business. Because, of course.

I sent them right back to her, and told her to do better. I cannot possibly hire a lawyer on her behalf, and I suspect she was half hoping I would. Trying to explain how that would be completely impossible was also beyond my scope. Of sanity.

Finally, she got hold of someone who does this work, and organised a meeting with him. I was also asked to attend, even though, again, it is well out of the scope of my work. I attended the meeting yesterday, and was supremely relieved to meet someone who was clearly a professional and more importantly, SANE.

Still, nursed a headache all evening as a result. I will need therapy after I am done with this lady, if she ever lets me bow out of her project.



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