Is Your Client’s Relationship Black, White, or Gray?

Laura Burford
7 min readMar 13, 2023
Image by Laura

Have you ever ended a conversation agreeing to disagree? There were no hard feelings. You and the other person realize that no matter how much each of you try, the two of you will never agree.

The BEST Solution: you agree to disagree.

If the disagreement occurs as you are discussing a potential opportunity, you, the consultant and independent worker, might decide the opportunity is not a fit for you. But what happens if you are working with the client and the two of you do not agree?

Below is a true story. At the time, I was providing project management office consulting services. The consultant in this story is not an independent consultant building their own business; rather the consultant worked for a software vendor.

The challenge the consultant faced is one that many independent consultants and clients encounter — the Consultant-Client Conundrum — with each person viewing the engagement from a different perspective — their own perspective. I believe the story is a great reminder of the importance of building solid and trusted client relationships.

Every project management consultant and client working together wants a successful project. However, every consultant and client view a project from their own perspective using their own terminology.

What each consultant and client might think is black and white about “the project” can actually be gray.

For many consultants and clients recognizing and accepting the gray is a conundrum. Even harder for many consultants and clients is the resolution to the conundrum because it requires aligning each other’s perspective for the good of the project; it requires flexibility and change as well as collaboration and communication.

Simply put, it requires building a trusted relationship and that relationship building starts before an engagement even starts.

👉The Scenario

At a networking event, a project management consultant asked me “What do you think is the ‘most important’ project constraint?”

The project management consultant worked for a software vendor and was a road warrior implementing the same application software from client to…



Laura Burford

Leveraging her Consultant's Blueprint, Laura helps Consultants & Freelancers use their MAGIC-their expertise and experience-to build successful businesses.