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Do you have Champagne Taste, but a Beer Budget?

June 7, 2011

I heard this saying from someone recently and it really struck a chord with me.

When it comes to e-learning, sometimes the desire is high to build something really slick or extensive or just darned big, but the budget is tiny.  That’s champagne taste vs. beer budget. On a recent #lrnchat, (check May 26th transcript) we discussed how to show your clients what’s possible. Comments ranged from wanting to educate clients on all of the options or things that could be done when they asked only for a course to a sense that dealing with the demands was hard enough and there was a need to scale back some of the superfluous “interactivity”.  I think one thing that is really important is to focus on the outcome. What do people need to do differently as a result of your e-learning?

As much as the Anti-Next Button crowd would like the slide based e-learning to go away, there isn’t really any reason to throw out the baby with the bath-water. I think one of the interesting approaches is to help the client/requestor see the big picture of their request.  Some thoughts…

  • Maybe this is the situation where you really do want to “blow the budget”, since it is critical to your organization’s strategy execution. You may not do anything else, but that might be ok.
  • Perhaps you help the client see there’s a more modest approach that will affect performance and they should save their money/time/resources for other stuff.  Or, maybe that’s just my approach (I am obviously not a very rich consultant!).
  • You could show “bronze/silver/gold” options to the client.
  • You could do a fixed fee project and timebox your development, effectively putting a cap on time/money spent.

I’m curious to know: How do you deal with champagne tastes vs. beer budgets?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 7, 2011 6:01 pm

    “No” is such a powerful word, and it is a word I feel we don’t use enough of. I’d rather tell a client no we can’t do that timeframe and the client have reasonable expectation that expect a Mercedes-Benz, than promising them the Benz and delivering a Pinto.

    I’ve also heard it put like this, you can only have 2 of the 3 following, but not all three: Time, Quality & Price.

    Scenario #1 – You can have a top-self quality course in a quick amount of time, but that will cost you a good amount of money.

    Scenario #2 – You can have quick turn-around course at a low cost, but the quality will suffer.

    Scenario #3 – You can have a low budget and quality project, but that is going to take a lot of time (as in, we are going to do it in our spare time, and you may get it in 6 months).

    I’ve never seen a super quality course, developed in a short period of time at low cost to the customer.

    Just my $0.02

  2. hollymacdonald permalink*
    June 8, 2011 9:31 am

    Hi Lee – thanks for your input – I’d agree with you and think that clients would rather work with people who are honest and we should say no when it’s the right thing to do.

    I rarely take a consulting engagement without digging into the request. Why do they need it? What are they trying to change. Why training?

    I’d also say that there are times when sticker shock rules the client’s brain and I tend to be pretty transparent when that happens. I show a detailed breakdown of what you actually do to produce the deliverables so they can see that there is a method to how things are priced and estimated. For example, if I say that I’ll create some kind of training/documentation for a systems roll-out and suggest that I’ll spend 4-6 hours per screen multiplied by the number of screens, they can see that I’m not just pulling a number out of thin air.

    Appreciate you stopping by and commenting!
    Holly

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