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Vendor Managers

The company I work for has hired a vendor manager to bring all the IT consultants under one group.  They sold it to management by claiming a 5% savings in the first year and more later.  All for a low adminstration fee.

After talking with some of the consultants who work on my team they were told by the VM they need to take a 5% cut and pay 5% to stay on the vendor "preferred" list.  Others were told if they did not put up a $5 million dollar bond, as liability, they would need to become w-2 employees of the vendor.  All were told do it or consider it their notice.

It looks like I am going to be losing some good people because of this.  Anyone herard of this before?  Is this normal for VMs to do?  The VPs and above look at savings, and don't want to hear anything else.

HidingFromManagement
Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Yes, gross management incompetence is par for the course when it comes to software projects. :-(

A cynic
Wednesday, May 28, 2003

It's called a buyers market. Get used to it.

Your VM will be able to screw over the consultants because they know he will be able to replace them in a flash. Your company management considers these contract employees to be a commodity. The VP's business plan does not list a contract person in the critical path, therefore they are temporary and expendible.

You may think these are good workers and indispensible to you but the very nature of their position makes them nothing more than leased machines to management. So if a VM can save the company 5%, that's what they'll buy.

You'll lose a few of them if they have other gigs to jump to and the remaining ones will be bitter and less productive.
The newer ones hired on by the VM are likely to be less qualified because they will work cheaper and it will maximize his incentive pay. Then it all spirals downward from there. But to MBA school managers none of this is obvious until much later in the game when it's too late.

old_timer
Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Look on the bright side...Stuff like this keeps the Dilbert comic strip alive and well.....

Mark Hoffman
Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Note that it will never be "too late" for the MBA's.

They will have gotten their cut and moved on before the impact of this "improvement" is realized.

njkayaker
Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Hiding, I gather you're a manager whose projects will be affected by this marvelous new policy introduced from higher up? That is, you stand to lose good people.

First, this sort of tactic is indeed part of the scenery, especially the requirement for a level of insurance that's totally unecessary for people working in an office. It's yet another of the schemes where vacuous middlemen exploit the people who actually do the work.

As to your own options, you should fight fire with fire. Aggressively new management best practices with tight service level agreements from the vendor manager, with one category being the minimising of disruption to existing resources and projects.

Also institute numerical project metrics that will show your own management what effects this VM has had.


Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Who's the vendor? How about a little information in the market?

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, May 28, 2003

"HFM",

I'm in agreement with the poster who suggested fignting fire with fire. This is a political game, and you need to become adept at playing it if you want to do well in the company.

Insist on a really tight SLA from the VM if you can, and document *any* problems that could conceivably have been caused by the VM.

In fact, I would go further. Try to cancel, postpone, or prolong a high-profile project, and then find a way of blaming the problem on the VM. Produce facts and figures to document this - some of them can even be true!

Regards,

Mark
---
Author of "Comprehensive VB .NET Debugging"
http://www.apress.com/book/bookDisplay.html?bID=128

Mark Pearce
Thursday, May 29, 2003

"In fact, I would go further. Try to cancel, postpone, or prolong a high-profile project, and then find a way of blaming the problem on the VM. Produce facts and figures to document this - some of them can even be true!"

Just wonderful...Why don't you suggest he burn his company to the ground too? Perhaps he should intentionally bankrupt it..That'll teach 'em.

Sabatoging your employer's success for personal gain, while all to common, is still a despicable practice.

Mark Hoffman
Thursday, May 29, 2003

"Just wonderful...Why don't you suggest he burn his company to the ground too? Perhaps he should intentionally bankrupt it..That'll teach 'em."

Hmmmm.... Now where did I put that match? ;-)

I agree with Mark, you cannot break you company just to make a point.

But you can make you VM wish they had never taken the gig. Just bury them with paper work. Literally assault them with questions, memos, suggestions, etc.

The point is, you are doing this to protect your company not hurt your company. But if you break your own companies legs you are no better than the VM.

Marc
Thursday, May 29, 2003

Hi Mark,

>> Just wonderful...Why don't you suggest he burn his company to the ground too? Perhaps he should intentionally bankrupt it..That'll teach 'em. <<

Well, I was being sarcastic to make a point. This is a political game - it's a game played by the company's VPs, the VM and many other people. Very few of these people care about the health and wealth of the company - most of them care much more about their own power and wealth.

My point is that you need to document with facts and figures (and as with all figures, you can be creative) how much damage the VM policy is causing your dept/company. Be specific, and make sure that upper management is left in no doubt about the problem - assuming, of course, that there is a problem, an assumption that was implicit in the original posting.

Regards,

Mark
---
Author of "Comprehensive VB .NET Debugging"
http://www.apress.com/book/bookDisplay.html?bID=128

Mark Pearce
Thursday, May 29, 2003

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