I Should Have Gone All Ninja on Them
One consultant learns the "strike without warning" approach is sometimes best.
I was brought in as a consultant for a small office that had about 50 host systems. The owner of the company was extremely security-conscious, but had hired an IT staff to set up the original network as a workgroup. The company -- started with a staff of three -- had also grown to 50 full-time employees, in addition to many part-timers and other consultants.
The main issue with the IT staff was that they didn't have the knowledge or training to set up and maintain even a single domain controller, never mind the Exchange server that was so sorely needed because many of the staff worked offsite at various locations.
The problems began the moment I walked in the door. I met more than the usual resistance from the onsite tech. I gave her the courtesy of including her in the process and she returned the favor by running around bad-mouthing the thought of updating and making the change from an overgrown workgroup to a nice, sleek domain.
After a month of vicious fighting, the onsite tech left the company to go to another local shop where she worked replacing modems and video cards. I ended up losing an employee to the client because the client now needed someone full time to run the new domain I set up.
I learned that thinking IT will appreciate your "helping" them and updating their system to a simpler one is naive and foolish. My new mantra as a consultant is to sneak in like a ninja and strike without warning. That way no one has the chance to sabotage your plans.
Frank Callanan operates a private consulting business.