Are you working with Customers or Collaborators?

Zed Shaw provides a very useful insight into what makes a project work.  I’m posting this here a) so that I can refer to it again in the future and b) the hypothesis passes my "Yup-I’ve-been-there" test.

This method is based on a simple revelation about how clients and projects can be divided generally into Customer,Collaborator;Implementation,Invention. I call this “The C2I2 Hypothesis” since it’s not a theory yet, never will be a theory, is based mostly on my thoughts on the subject, and you should probably just use it as a way to think about the problem yourself.

Another reason I like the essay is his burtally honest statement that "This is again just my thoughts and experiences. I’ve got little if no evidence that my ideas are valid since there simply isn’t any". I could point to a number of projects where matching the two were successful or lead to failure.  Figuring out if you are working with Customers or Collaborators will give you direction in to how to ask questions, report progress, and deliver the final product.  At the least, it would be very valuable to ask these questions next time your sitting in a conference room with a Project Manager to kick off a project to make sure the project group is on the same page.