Experience Matters

I was tickled the other day to hear from an old colleague via Linkedin. She kindly reminisced about how in bygone days I taught her something about SQL, and now she is mentoring others. While I remember working with this person, and distinctly recall that she was worth the investment of time to explain things to (which is high praise, as there have been too many who have not reached that bar), I cannot recall what it was that I might have helped her learn. It was just normal, professional experience stuff.

Bear with me a few moments, because this past (Valentine-adjacent) weekend my spouse and I dined in Charlottesville, VA—a town full of young professionals. We observed that the restaurant was generously stocked with young twentysomething couples, and we had a grand time entertaining ourselves observing their behavior. For example, we noted that several couples seemed to have this mandate to consume their wine at exactly the same rate so there was always an equal amount in each of their wine glasses. Maybe you just had to be there, but it was fun to watch. By contrast, my wife and I have been dining together for 34 years and counting, so our drink rates are independent of each other. Boy, we could teach these kids a few things from our many years of experience (#1: real communication!)  Not to worry, we left them alone to stumble along and enjoy their journeys.

At Spitfire, we see something similar during implementation meetings. In some ways, these are a little bit like an early dating relationship, but I wish they were less like dating and more like an agile team. Instead, we have clients that are sure they know what they are doing and try to go it alone. Others cannot be bothered to slow down a moment and talk about details—like a sane Work Breakdown Structure and how, when you set things up well, marrying project accounting and project management is not that hard at all.

We have decades of experience doing this!  And I am willing to bet we have cultivated and polished domain expertise that will surprise you. Yes, even you.

Our implementation team knows project management and project accounting very, very well—yes, even what it’s like to track the change order process from RFI through execution into budget revision and schedule of values billing, not to mention forecasting, compliance tracking, field reports and so much more. Sure, every client is different, with unique company culture and history.  Some lean towards how it has always been done, others study every option. But odds are we can make any company’s work life more sane by guiding executives, administrators and managers through the important decisions and details. Along the way, we help tame billing cycles and better track the all-important single version of the truth.

If you are in the market for a project management system, sure, start with our demo, but when you get serious, ask for a “first date” with one of our implementation specialists and really communicate—both by expressing your work needs and by listening to the our voice of experience for solutions. That could be the start of a long and productive relationship.

Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words?

Recently, I sat through a product demo where the presenter filled most of the presentation time flipping from graph to graph to illustrate the power and flexibility of his product.

I must admit the presenter had put a great deal of thought into his storyboard and how to best show “what sells.” His delivery was crisp and polished.

He had me sold on a great graph presentation tool—but that wasn’t what I was really looking for.

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Save Now or Save Later

Whoever invented the coupon was a very smart person. The psychology behind coupons makes them effective. Sure, if there is something you were going to buy in a certain store anyway, a coupon just saves you money. But many people will buy something they weren’t thinking of buying before, just to “save” money with the coupon, or they will go to the store offering the coupon without checking to see if another store has lower prices. And once in the store, they might even buy other things at full price. In the end, people usually spend more money on that particular trip at that particular store than if they had not gotten the coupon at all.  And this is why stores give out coupons in the first place.

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Oops! Not Again!

Lest I seem to be judgmental, let’s start out with a professional revelation: I probably make hundreds of mistakes a year. In fact, it is possible I picked my career—one where mistakes are so intrinsic we call them “bugs” instead —because of a summer day when I was around ten, tossing a game of catch in a narrow NYC street. You see, I observed the dense proximity of windows all around and wondered how it was I hadn’t broken one yet. Within 5 minutes of that very thought, an errant throw of mine went through a neighbor’s window.  Oops! I knew then and there I was going to make plenty of mistakes.

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