15 May 2006

Working with a 3rd party

If you want the job doing as cost-effectively as possible, it's good practice to give a highly detailed specification for the 3rd party to follow.

Occasionally the 3rd party is given his head. Frank Lloyd Wright apparently showed his client no intermediate sketches for Falling Water before delivering the finished drawings. The story goes that in frustration his client telephoned him to ask when the drawings would be ready. Lloyd Wright said, "I have just finished them" and as soon as the phone was put down, drew all the elevations, floor plans and interiors and completed them in the 4 hours or so it took his client to arrive. He had finished them, but only in his head. The feat is claimed to be one of the miracles of 20th century architecture and it has been confirmed by several of the associates who were in the office that day.

Most people would feel uneasy giving that degree of control to a 3rd party - but Lloyd Wright was already famous at this point. For those without that degree of trust, it makes sense to make the specification highly detailed so that the iteration between the 3rd party and the client is minimised. Without that specification, the 3rd party is likely to come forward with an idea that the client feels is technically acceptable but which doesn't really meet his vision of how it would look. That generates costs as the 3rd party then has to revise the relevant part of the work until it meets his client's vision.


Blogger business voodoo said...

great post ...

i see your point, but i suppose that FLW's client could have just as easily said ... 'well, that's not quite what i had in mind ..."

i suppose it varies from situation to situation, the best one can hope for is (1) listen carefully to the client's wishes, desires and vision; (2) trust your interpretation of your client's ideas; (3) ask questions when clarity is needed; (4) trust your creative process is matched with the client for a reason of success.

peace & harmony,
'freedom must be exercised to stay in shape!'

8:59 am  
Blogger John Diffenthal said...

Thank you for your kind comment.

Visually, Lloyd Wright was close to a genius and Falling Water is simply amazing. Mechanically he was less proficient and the maintenance bills are huge.

The client imagined a smaller cottage on the other bank of the stream – Lloyd Wright’s vision was hugely original. It is now claimed to be the most famous house that has never been lived in by a member of Royalty.

10:10 am  

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