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We are doing work for a particular client managing their CRM implementation. (The CRM itself is a product which has been largely customized to suit my client's needs). Now, they want us to manage the Oracle batch jobs/ETL as well. And for this, they are ready to provide us with Knowledge Transfer. (The Oracle batch jobs/ETL is managed in-house by the client now).

After much persuasion, I got one of the Project Lead (designation-wise) to email the client asking for a KT Plan. (The Project Lead kept saying that they have never had KT plans before and all that for which I offered I will draft a template and even that was rejected!).

Email from us to them -

Can you please share with us the KT Plan?

Response from them -

Not sure what is expected from my side? The KT is planned for tomorrow from 11 am onwards where Functional knowledge of existing ETL Data migration package will be shared.

How do you handle such a client?

Most likely what is going to happen is this. The person who is giving the KT will say that I have given complete Knowledge Transfer and we will go back and say that "No, this was not covered. For this, they provided an overview alone and left it at that!" and so on...

My Project Lead also did not respond to that email. He just said that the meeting is scheduled to happen at 11 AM (basically repeating whatever the email said and left for the day!).

What could I possibly do?

PS: Look for another job is a very helpful answer, but I am not looking for it. :-)


The meeting went on well where they shared a Oracle DB package (which runs to 10K LOC). They told us that ETL which fetches data from other core systems to a Staging_DB is the ETL team (another team's) responsibility. This Oracle DB package will move the data from Staging_DB to my CRM_DB which is what we are to manage/modify.

What I did

Drafted the Minutes of Meeting as below:

  1. Listed down what is In Scope and what is Out Scope
  2. No documentation regarding the functionality of the Database Package
  3. No reports for performance of existing Database Package to baseline the performance
  4. ...
  5. ...

And then went back to my management and told them I need time to do the documentation, baseline the existing performance and so, I will come back with clarifications which the client is supposed to answer. Let us see how that goes.

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Sounds like they just want to "wing it" and they have little or no existing documentation, etc. They may expect you to document it as you look over their shoulder. Perhaps they have yet to be in a position where they needed to do a formal KT. Maybe this was not anticipated. It is a common short sightedness most companies tend to have about their systems. Not really an answer (hence this is a comment). But just trying to shed light on why this may be their reaction. – Mark Freedman Jan 4 '11 at 15:16
@Mark Freedman: Yes, we do know that they have NO existing documentation of the Oracle ETL/batch jobs. I quite did not get "Perhaps they have yet to be in a position where they needed to do a formal KT.". Do you mean to say that the feed is not yet in production? It has been in production for the last 2 years... – Kanini Jan 4 '11 at 16:00
Nope, not at all. It definitely could have been in production for quite a while. It just could be that all the knowledge about the process is stuck in someone's head, and has never been documented, or even shared with another team member. This is all too common an occurrence in our field, and is one of those "death wish" tendencies many companies appear to have. Not intentional, but usually pushed down the priority stack (we'll get around to it the next time we touch the system, etc., etc.). So they'll put it off until placed in a position where they HAVE to do KT. – Mark Freedman Jan 4 '11 at 16:37

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You could try coming up with a high level list of areas to cover and what is beyond the Functional knowledge of existing ETL Data migration package. Think of this as more of a checklist to have that could be used as an initial guideline of what to cover.

Second, after the meeting note any gaps and prepare a lengthy message to note what was properly covered that should go to possibly your Project Lead and/or client. This is basically stating what wasn't covered adequately in your view that may be a risk to the project.

Do be aware of if something is done well that should be praised as those may be rather rare here. If something needs 101 questions to get the details then be prepared to ask all the questions. Just because this is their first one, doesn't mean they will completely bomb on trying to get somewhere. If you have expertise share it, but be careful of how you come across with it. If you sound like a know-it-all with a big ego then things may get quite ugly. However, if you offer suggestions in a way that they make sense and seem reasonable that may go over much better. While it is manipulative, leading them to come up with some ideas that they may think are their own can work well too.

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The person writing the check for your service needs to understand that this is going to cost extra in the long run. Either these people have poor writing skills, are lazy, or don't really know what they are doing which is why they hired you.

Please let us know how the meeting goes.

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