In a recent project kick-off meeting, I explained to our client how our team would discover his process operations and then adapt our code standards and methods to his specific application. With a straight face and a deep stare, he replied, “I don’t want to pay for your learning curve, too.”
He certainly is not averse to paying for the knowledge gained from our other projects, perhaps even from his industry peers, but he did not feel he should pay for the time needed to align our past experience to his project needs and perhaps develop additional skills while on his project.
Having heard this concern before, I explained, “this is how we bring value to our clients: by sharing the experiences and skills developed throughout our careers.” In fact, a large portion of the work we were doing for him was based upon skills, concepts and experiences we have brought to his project from other companies just like his. The technology and application of those technologies is ever changing – an assimilation learning curve is a necessity.
It’s not as if we bill our customers when we send our engineers to formal training, but there is a portion of project discovery and execution that produces unique solutions which we call “on-the-job training” — it’s the most valuable type of training any technically minded individual can receive. It’s good for us as well as for the client and clients should expect it to some degree on every project. If not, then we are simply performing technological cut-and-paste routines to satisfy the client’s globally-standardized solution.
Some people like to think there is a standard solution to every problem, but at the same time want the application they use to be unique for their needs. It is this search for this uniqueness that energizes and motivates engineers to develop better methods and means to deliver more complex solutions that add more value to the business goal all the while in a shorter time.
Hmmmm… Better, cheaper, and shorter… All for the cost of learning. Where is the down side?
For more information about how Avanceon approaches customer projects, click here.