Walking Away from a Bad Client

I’ve heard the spiel about turning down bad clients from professional services firms I’ve worked for, but I’ve never seen it actually happen. I came across a post from a ThoughtWorker where they actually walked away from a paying client that was ignoring their advice and forcing them to work in a waterfall approach.

This definitely the right thing to do, but so often you need the revenue and you don’t have other clients beating down your door, so you stay with bad clients who are willing to pay. The consultants on the site get frustrated and eventually leave. You know you’re not really adding value even if they are paying $200/hr to sit in their meetings and write voluminous documentation that they review endlessly asking you to change boxes on diagrams or the name of a sub-heading. They ask for completely random enhancements which are going to take months to add and don’t seem to add any value, but since they’re willing to pay you don’t argue that hard against it. Nice to see ThoughtWorks was able to live up to the hype at least in this case.