Clients look for their vendor partners to be an extension of their team. In our zealousness to find ways to help, we run the risk of missing what is on the table to discuss versus what is currently acceptable. Here are thoughts on how to identify situations to question processes/methods of others.
When a process is established and people believe in the process, questioning it ad-hoc is usually ineffective. They’ve examined their process and believe it is acceptable. Their productivity depends on running with it. So going in and challenging it makes it look like working with you will be more difficult than the alternative. Also, it shows how for out of connection you are with their team – the very team you want to be an extension of.
Look for the projects that are not “processized” to pose questions that help refine a process not yet fully established and adopted and you will find opportunities to help them make their brand better.
Said differently, people usually have good command of what they are responsible for. If you question “why” on a process that someone is comfortable with in an unscheduled way, when its redevelopment is not a high priority, you run the risk of coming off as unfocused and misaligned. Gaining the support of the team in establishing processes by helping them build ones they are not comfortable with will make it easier for them to re-examine other processes. Mine for these opportunities.