January Seattle FMPUG Meeting - Molly Connolly Thorsen

From Dwayne Wright PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM
Certified FileMaker Developer

WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
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I’m way behind in blogging my feedback from our January FileMaker PUG meeting with Molly Connolly Thorsen of Thorsen Consulting (http://thorsenconsulting.com/). I apologize for that because the meeting was outstanding. If I wasn’t such an understanding boss, I would deal harshly with myself.

First off, you get an immediate impression of how warm, friendly and disarming Molly’s personality can be. Anyone that has been in the FileMaker consulting trenches for any period of time, (putting it mildly) can have moments of cynical reactions to client demands.

Don’t get me wrong, most clients are warm, wonderful and a privilege to work with. However, building robust databases in large workgroups is not a cake walk. Things can get heated as everyone tries to communicate and keep the project on track. Even the most pleasant people can have their off days and the “not particularly” pleasant individuals can have a day were they come off way too strong.

So situations can get out of hand but there is “almost” always a workable resolution. I can just imagine Molly under fire and see her disarm potentially volatile situations with expert precision.

That was the focus of this meeting, Dealing With Disasters. Molly had us break down into groups for role playing exercises. In one exercise, we were the consultant and in the other the client. We were matched up into pairs and our fellow PUG meeting participant would play the opposite role. Molly had two scenarios planned out for us and they were the typical situation in which both the consultant and the customer need to work together (but often don’t in the real world) for a resolution.

In the first exercise, my “customer” was grilling me like a fish on a hot rock. The situation involved a down FileMaker database server. The customers IT staff was away at the conference and the client (which hasn’t communicated to me in many months) is holding me responsible for the fix. In this scenario, I didn’t setup their server, maintain their server or even have direct access to their system. I simply created the database for them. To make matters worse, I’m burdened with many deliverables to other paying clients at the same time.

In the second exercise, I’m the customer with a database project that is due but I haven’t received a final version. We need to work together in seeing where we are, where we are going and what our milestones are in this project.

In both cases, Molly debriefed us on what happened in each situation. We had an open and frank discussion on what was discussed and I found it very illuminating.

So getting to the bottom line, I think Molly is visiting many of the FMPug meetings across the country. If she is coming to one near you, I would suggest attending it. In our meeting, we had a 50/50 mix of developers for hire and in house developers. Everyone seemed to enjoy the session and found it applicable in their work day.
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