You are the technical manager of a large Internet design firm called Elder Interactive. One of your primary responsibilities is to manage a team of developers. Your team’s primary goal is to build and deliver custom web applications, as well as updating client websites. About 8 months ago, you hired a small start-up company called MaintainU to perform much of the necessary maintenance for clients’ websites, as your team needed to focus more and more attention on building custom applications for clients. MaintainU does not interact with your clients, and they work as sub-contractors through your company. Your clients are not aware of this move and for now, you and Nathan Elder, your company president, want to keep it this way.

Yesterday, you received an angry call from a client, Sheila Links at Gateway Industries, because users of the company website were getting error messages stating that necessary website permissions had expired and to contact the website’s administrators. You immediately got in touch with Jason Hughes, the president of MaintainU, to inform him of the problem. Jason and his team were able to update the appropriate certificate, but there remains work to be done.

Gateway Industries was one of the first clients your firm ever signed. While you were able to get  the mistake corrected, this incident has compromised the client’s faith in the company. At this point, you’re uncertain if you want to continue the relationship, but at the same time, you know you won’t have time to locate a new contractor for several months. How to balance these competing concerns?

Communicate to the important client, Sheila Links at Gateway Industries
Communicate to Jason Hughes, President at MaintainU, whose company made the mistake
Communicate to Nathan Elder, the president of your company, who is a micro-manager and likes to know everything that is going on
For each communication, make sure to specify what communication method you would use, along with a draft of the message itself. Think about what information each recipient

Sample Answer

Sample Answer


Essay: Finding the Balance in Managing Client Relationships and Sub-Contractors

In the dynamic and fast-paced world of internet design, managing client relationships alongside sub-contractors is a crucial task for technical managers. In the case of Elder Interactive, a large Internet design firm, maintaining a delicate balance between the two is essential for the smooth functioning of operations and ensuring client satisfaction. However, when unexpected issues arise, such as the recent incident with Gateway Industries, it becomes imperative to address concerns effectively while upholding transparency and professionalism.

Thesis Statement

Effective communication and transparency are key in managing client relationships and sub-contractors in the internet design industry to ensure trust, reliability, and long-term success.

Communication with Sheila Links at Gateway Industries

Method: Email

Dear Sheila Links,

I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to address the recent incident regarding the error messages on Gateway Industries’ website. We acknowledge the inconvenience this has caused to your users and sincerely apologize for the oversight on our part.

I want to assure you that we have identified and rectified the issue promptly with our subcontractors. We are committed to ensuring the highest level of service and reliability for all our clients, including Gateway Industries.

Your feedback is invaluable to us, and we are taking proactive measures to prevent such occurrences in the future. We value our partnership with Gateway Industries and are dedicated to regaining your trust.

I would be more than happy to discuss this matter further or address any additional concerns you may have. Your satisfaction is our top priority.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]
Technical Manager
Elder Interactive

Communication with Jason Hughes, President at MaintainU

Method: Phone Call followed by Email

Subject: Urgent: Website Error Incident at Gateway Industries

Dear Jason,

I hope this message reaches you well. Yesterday, we encountered a critical issue with Gateway Industries’ website that required immediate attention. The error messages related to expired website permissions raised concerns from the client.

I appreciate your swift action in updating the necessary certificate to resolve the issue. However, it has come to my attention that there are additional areas that require attention to prevent future occurrences.

I would like to schedule a call to discuss a comprehensive plan of action and preventive measures moving forward. Your expertise and collaboration are crucial in ensuring seamless operations for all our clients.

Please let me know your availability for a call this week. I look forward to addressing this matter together promptly.

Best regards,

[Your Name]
Technical Manager
Elder Interactive

Communication with Nathan Elder, President of Elder Interactive

Method: In-Person Meeting

Subject: Update on Client Incident at Gateway Industries

Dear Nathan,

I wanted to provide you with an update on the recent incident at Gateway Industries regarding the website error messages. The issue stemmed from expired website permissions and was promptly addressed by our subcontractors at MaintainU.

While the immediate problem has been resolved, I believe it is essential for us to review our processes and communication channels to prevent similar issues in the future. I am working closely with MaintainU to implement necessary measures and ensure optimal performance for all clients.

I recommend discussing this matter further during our next meeting to align on strategies moving forward and strengthen our client relationships.

Looking forward to your insights and guidance on this matter.

Best regards,

[Your Name]
Technical Manager
Elder Interactive

In conclusion, by effectively communicating with both the client and subcontractors while maintaining transparency and professionalism, technical managers can navigate challenges, build trust with clients, and ensure operational efficiency in the internet design industry. Balancing these concerns requires a strategic approach that prioritizes client satisfaction while fostering strong partnerships with subcontractors for long-term success.


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