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Short term projects?

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koehj:
Hi,
Just wanted to know in anyone else is running into this problem. Of my last 4 projects, all have been prematurely cancelled. In one case (supposed to be 11 months) they let me go after two, because there was nobody to manage me. (I've been a tech writer for @28 years and can manage myself.) In another case (supposedly 6 months), they terminated a signed contract after 10 weeks because my manager left the company and no one else wanted to run it. In yet another job, I lasted 5 months (it was supposed to be eight), then they decided they were too busy to finish the project. In the final job, they called a halt after 7 weeks (supposed to be 6 months) because they didn't have the information to do it.

Before 2016, I had no problem finding and working to the end of 6 month projects or more. One even lasted 3 years. Has the market changed? How can I avoid these short-term clunkers? I dont mind one once in a while, but 4 in a row is killing me!

The Gorn:
Most board members here are from the corporate world. I worked with small businesses all of my contracting career so I've always been out of step of being exposed to corporate "best" practices, instead I've dealt with the always reactionary and ignorant responses of small clients.

So, all I can do is frame this as the long term secular trend of the IT business. Businesses are increasingly retarded and are run on a short-term, panic basis. Back in the 1990s I had several small company software development projects that lasted 6 mos - 2 yrs at the longest. That collapsed in the early 2000s and then it began to be about producing something actually salable within 2-3 months.

Tech writing? I dabbled in freelance writing a few years ago and I have a heart for writers. But my experience is the farther away you get from the revenue flow in the business and more toward support roles, the more irrational and stupid the decision making will be.

My short answer is, it's definitely the business environment plus the role of millennials who now manage and run things being weasels. Low integrity, poor personal character, impulsiveness, short attention span == throwaway projects.

(I sincerely hope someone on this disengaged sleepwalking forum where people only pop in when THEY PERSONALLY have a problem can be bothered to give you an informed answer that is more than two words long and more helpful than what I can.)

pxsant:
Your experience has unfortunately become the norm in many large corporations.   I was just on a 2+ year project with a major big bank that lasted all of 4 months before they scrapped it and got rid of more than 100 people - some of them full-time employees with years at the bank.  High-level banking knowledge is very hard to come by yet they dumped these experienced people as f they were road trash.

The problem is the lack of knowledge and poor capabilities of the people at the top.   They try every newfangled thing that comes down the road (like agile) without having a clue of how to do it.   The worker bees are fine but the top level management types are idiots.   They will burn down an operation and then get credit for saving money on a failed project which they created.

Don't get discouraged.   Shrug it off and move on to the next one.   Once and a while you will find a jewel where the high-level people actually kow what they are doing.

BTW are these large corporations or small fry where your projects crashed?

The Gorn:
^ Good observations from pxsant. Conforms to my own experiences.

This short termism and incompetency of following through used to be a hallmark of small businesses attempting complex projects. 20 years ago on boards like this I would describe such experiences I had with my clients and I would be told it was my fault for being such a loser that I worked with small businesses. In fact most borked contractors that I knew had no idea what I was talking about.

Today it's everywhere.

benali72:
Yeah, it's pretty clear from my experience and that of my friends that somewhere over the past decade the project turnover rate has become frantic.

I had a friend who is on a project that was just suspended -- in mid-project -- so that the corporation paying for the contractor services could "renegotiate" the contracts.

IOW, they wanted to stop the project and use that as leverage to reduce everybody's previously agreed-upon rates!

Keohj, you have my sympathy. Unfortunately, at least in my experience, this is definitely the direction contracts and projects are evolving. More and more short term, without the higher rates that used to compensate for short-term agreements. I hope you're able to find another contract, this time with luck it'll have a longer term timeframe.

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