You Gotta Have Friends….

Sometimes we have to accept the fact that we can’t do everything by ourselves.

As a Virgo, that’s not something I embrace. I tend to believe the more people involved in a project, the greater the likelihood of errors.

BIG errors. Messy, even.

But as 2012 wound down, I found myself at wit’s end with a project designing a new Website for a client. They wanted me to create a form, something to let their customers choose different-priced options and see — via a running total — how much they could anticipate paying for a certain service. This form also needed to capture the customer’s contact information so they could follow up and clinch the sale.

Not an easy task.

Hiding my head in the sand comes natural for me, so I designed the entire site (including the form) and got everything looking and working to their satisfaction.

Then they asked if the form worked.

Not yet, I stammered. But it will.

Eventually.

Did I admit I had no clue how to make it work?

Of course not. I’m a Virgo, remember??

What I did know was it involved programming. Yuck.

Back when I was taking Web design classes, programming really wasn’t part of the equation. So I went to the drawing board.

Or rather, the learning board.

I tried online how-tos, bought computer books, searched for code I could copy-and paste, and consulted my go-to gurus.

To no avail.

Now I felt pretty sure I could eventually figure out how to code the form, but there loomed a fast-approaching deadline.

And I believe in bringing projects to completion on time.

So I went begging for help.

I found a company on the West Coast that does expert programming on a contract basis.

Just what I needed!

We corresponded via e-mail and phone, and they assured me this piece of the puzzle was right up their alley.

And they even made me feel better about it.

Designing is a right-brain activity, they told me. Programming calls upon the left side of the brain.

Well, no wonder!

My project is now finished, and I feel relieved. Still, I shudder at how many places it could have blown up in my face.

Am I the only person in the world who finds collaborating on projects tricky?

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14 thoughts on “You Gotta Have Friends….

  1. The job is accomplished. Yeah YOU! I’m pretty willing to outsource what I don’t know. In fact, I tend to friend people who are good at the things I am not–I have a lot of friends
    :-D. They could do it differently, or it could take a little longer because explaining exactly what needs to be done during any collaboration takes times and is for me half the battle. But, most of the time we reach a mutually acceptable outcome. Sometimes getting something done or even passing on something I don’t want to do trumpets perfect.
    And despite a little help along the way it appears like you accomplished the job perfectly.

    • There were a LOT of worries along the way — whether I was paying them upfront something I’d never be able to recoup, something they might completely fowl up, was the biggie. Nevertheless, it all turned out splendid. and what a relief getting this one finished! Thanks for sharing your experiences — guess I should take a lesson from you and cultivate friends-in-the-know, too!

  2. That’s how to get it done, Debbie. In this high tech world, there are so many new developments and highly specialized skills required that you have to rely on others. It seems it really does take a village these?days to accomplish a big project. Glad you got it worked out in time!

    • Well, actually, it was a bit on the late side, but they didn’t seem to mind too much. Thanks for your encouragement, Kathy. It’s mind-boggling to realize that just a few years ago, there weren’t all of today’s “necessities” like cell phones, social media, and such. We live in exciting (if challenging) times!

    • I’ve worked both ways, Monica, and if the team is fairly evenly matched — and congenial — it’s wonderful. Too often, one person seems to get saddled with the lion’s share, leading to resentment. You’re fortunate to have a good working situation that fits your work-style!

  3. When I started my wordpress blog, I knew zip-nothing-nada about any of this. I taught myself what I needed to know to design what I wanted through prowling the wordpress forums and googling myself to death. You wouldn’t think even simple html could seem like such a big deal, but good gosh! I even wrote a post called “Learning to Close Those Tags”!

    What I learned through the process was not only to ask for help, but to not be embarassed about asking for help. I developed an approach for tech help desks that never has failed me. I call, I get the nice representative on the line, and I say, “This is going to be the call you laugh about at the bar tonight” – or something like that. There are a lot of people with a lot of knowledge who really enjoy helping and teaching, if they’re given half a chance!

    • That’s a real good way to look at it, Linda! I, too, have found most “techy” people to be very sympathetic and understanding — and more than willing to help out. The html part I’ve got down pat — it’s stuff like Javascript, PHP, C++, and the like that I haven’t learned. Yet!

  4. I’m glad you knew someone who could fill in where your expertise tapered off. It sounds like it all ended well. And yes, I think we all need to call on a friend sometime. It’s so nice knowing there are people who have our backs and can come through when we really need it.

    • The hard part was NOT knowing them! We all realize the Internet can be a vast mecca for scam artists. I was just very fortunate I found the right group of programmers to do the job right from the beginning. Thanks for reading and encouraging me, Janna.

  5. Debbie, I admit it: I have a hard time being part of a team. I say this only because I don’t like to rely on others to get the job done. I want the final result to be a product of my labor and know that I am solely responsible for the outcome. Nevertheless, it sounds like this project was quite the challenge and you mastered it! Don’t you love how gratifying events like this can be? Kudos to you! :)

    • Bella, we must be sisters from different parents! I suppose this is one reason I work for myself — I’ll gladly take the blame when things go wrong IF I’m to blame, but I don’t want to be blamed if it’s somebody else’s fault, ha!

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