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End Users ARGH!!

By Kristy Varda posted 03-03-2017 11:12

  

Did you ever have that one end user who thinks you are psychic and can read their mind?  After all we are sitting right next to them right?  Getting end users to respond at all or in a timely fashion can be a challenge.  How about that "emergency" they have now because they didn't communicate to you months ago that they were working on something that had a strict deadline! (Lack of planning on your part doesn't constitute and emergency on my part, I WISH!!)

For anyone who knows me I am a stickler for on time and on schedule.  The military taught me that being early is on time and being on time is late. I stress when I have to drop everything and work on something because someone else didn't plan well. However the last 5 years have allowed me to grow, have patience, and understand that not everyone works like I do.  Now I am not saying I do not procrastinate with the best of them, (doing so right now to get these thoughts out!) but I also have learned that we don't know what the other person is dealing with, what their workload is, nor what their degree of competence is in their line of work. 

So how do you combat the end user who is always late, rarely communicates, or only gives you pieces of the information?

COMMUNICATION!!  Yes I might call them, but I always follow up with an email to reiterate what we discussed.  If they are in the same building with me, I have been known to camp out in their office till I get a moment to get the information I need to help them and then again follow up with an email.  And yes finally if there is no other choice, I cc their boss.  Once they know that I if they don't respond I will cc their boss, they usually become much more communicative!  Document, document, document to not only cover yourself but also to help them out.

Now I am not trying to get anyone in trouble here, it is just I want to do what is best for our organization and I cannot do it alone.  Just like raising a child, it takes a village to ensure that a public jurisdiction has everything it needs to be successful.

Happy Friday everyone! 

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03-08-2017 19:18

Kristy, I have found that if I get more engaged with them and build a relationship that they will reach out to me in the beginning instead of last minute.  Not that you have to become best friends but if they see your interest in their department and projects, they start to think of you as part of their team.  One of the benefits of working in the procurement profession is that we get to be involved with and see all the fascinating services our departments provide to the public.  They need to start seeing you as part of that team and I have always found the best way for that to happen is through regular engagements. 

As a manager, I encourage my contracting staff to attend their customer's department/division staff meetings or project update meetings.  This allows my contracting staff to know what's coming down the pike but also provides an opportunity for progress reporting. 

If that doesn't work, take them food!  Everyone loves to eat!!  Tell them you are briding them so you can talk about their project and get all the information you need (who, what, where, when, why, etc.)

Good luck!

03-07-2017 08:59

Michael,

I used to do the same thing. Now that I work for a school district its a little more complicated because my end users are all over the place at opposite ends of the County! 

03-03-2017 13:34

I hear you and feel your pain!   There are those that are a constant challenge.  I find that open communication and frequent visits (procurement by walking around) to departments results in finding out about upcoming projects or needs sooner than later.  I will not hesitate to cc someone’s manager if they are not providing what I need so I can meet THEIR deadline.

Happy Friday!  That much closer to Monday.