Recovering From a Failed Home Project Written by Robert Kempe
Everyone has a home project haunting them from their past. The objective was to upgrade their existing home, but it just didn’t turn out way they originally envisioned. When this happens, what do you do now? I always smile and say “Punt!” In real world we can’t punt, but we do have choices. One solution is to make it a work of modern art or more common decision is to fix problem and finish as planned.
Let’s assume you have all correct tools and are skilled on how to use them. If you are having problems using your tools, you might want to find a contractor to fix your project. So what was original problem that caused your project to fail? I can answer that in a few short words for a large majority of failed projects, lack of correct pre-planning. The really comical thought is that to discover problem on your failed project is same process as doing a proper pre-plan.
The purpose of this article is to explain a concept so we will use an extremely simple problem, however process will work on all types and sizes of projects. You just installed a new sink in your master bathroom. The color and texture and size are all correct but for some reason it just doesn’t line up with existing countertop and wobbles from end to end. Along way you must have forgotten a step or took a shortcut to have caused this. The way to fix this problem is obviously to pull sink out and figure out how to install it correctly. Before you do this, do a work breakdown structure (WBS). This is a common pre-plan task all good managers working on high dollar projects use. This is a practice that also applies to home projects and is a useful way to find your fix. A WBS is exactly as it states, your work broken down and itemized creating a structure and path to follow.
Start at top of your paper pad and state your objective. In our example we will use “Install a new sink.” Then we divide that objective into deliverables. In sink example I write; purchase sink, remove old sink, prepare countertop, and prepare plumbing. Next we have to further divide these again into assignments. Assignments are action items or tasks. The following is how I would write this using our example of new sink.
Mystery Shopper 007Written by Jon Castle
Living a Double Life as a Mystery Shopper
As a mystery shopper you are kind of like a spy. Just as James Bond gets briefed on his next top-secret assignment at some high-tech cave complex beneath a tropical island, you mystery shopper are briefed in advance over telephone or emailed at your own secret location—your home. While James Bond gets shot at, you get free mugs of beer placed in your hand, steak put on your plate, and you have to deal with several more hazards that come with job--like dodging golf balls while teeing off on an 18-hole golf course. That’s because your job as a mystery shopper is to shop. That’s best part about being a mystery shopper--companies will pay you to buy their products and services. Imagine getting a back massage as part of your job. Sounds like tough work doesn’t it?
Attentive companies are hiring mystery shoppers to get an impartial consumer evaluation on quality of their customer service. Customer service is arguably most important factor contributing to a company’s continued success. Every business has customers and if these customers aren’t satisfied they can easily take their money somewhere else. There are several ways a company can screw up when it comes to customer service. A mystery shopper can inform a company about current business practices that might need adjustment or about employees whose attitudes need an even bigger adjustment. Companies use this feedback to improve overall customer experience.
If you would like to mystery shop you have to be prepared to write a small evaluation report or complete a survey that grades level of customer service you received from your client companies. In regards to that, you better have a decent memory and pay good attention to detail. You’re probably not going to be allowed on job with a laptop or a giant note pad and pencil. You will have to leave your, “I’m a Paid Mystery Shopper” t-shirt at home as well. Remember, as a mystery shopper, you are going in undercover.