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I'm in IT. I'm responsible for project management including finding and managing vendors/ contractors. The industry I'm in isn't very big in my country, people know each other.

I myself work for a big company, which however, tends to be unreliable. I've been in this situation several times: 

  1. I have a go for a project and a timeline. 
  2. So I find an external contractor, a small company that can deliver us some service or technology. We discuss the terms, the would-be partner organization invests plenty of time in the cooperation already at this stage: meetings to define the scope, contract negotiations, etc. 
  3. Then the wind blows the other way and the people who approved the project reject it. Or they ask me to present it again. 
  4. All that takes time. The partner organization is waiting. I can only give them a heads-up that, unfortunately, we need to wait and I will keep them posted. This can take months and repeat several times with several stakeholders. The contractors get impatient and sometimes in the end bail on us.

This is problematic, cause I'm burning bridges in the industry.

Not to mention that I have to search for new contractors again and again and there aren't so many local ones. And I waste plenty of time.

On the other hand, I do my job correctly - I only search for partners after what appears to be the final go. The approvals I get are from the right people - It's just those people change their opinion a lot. I'm starting to feel ashamed to represent my company.

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    Techically you're not wasting your time, you're spending it exactly as your company wants it. They certainly are wasting their money paying you for time spent on tasks that go to the trash...
    – Laurent S.
    Oct 25 '20 at 10:53
  • Remember that while you are doing the work with people, they are not necessarily assigning the behavior to you personally. As long as you are working in good faith and explaining the constraints, waiting on decisions, it is not you who will be burning bridges.
    – Jennifer S
    Oct 26 '20 at 12:00
  • @JenniferS. I will be searching for a new job soon. I will be applying in the companies I now consider as contractors. I'm afraid that what you write is not necessarily true and they will think I'm incompetent because of my employer's behavior.
    – user68203
    Oct 26 '20 at 13:29
  • Best of luck to you. Hopefully the change of scene will be better.
    – Jennifer S
    Oct 26 '20 at 14:11
  • Its cost of doing business, some projects get frozen on a whim days before they should get a final go-ahead and resurrected few months after, you are not doing anything wrong
    – Strader
    Oct 26 '20 at 15:23
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Experienced contractors already deal with your sort of company. They add the headache and potential time wasting to their costings. For example, my quotes for one particular client are 3 times what another would get quoted because they've left me hanging before. It doesn't stop me dealing with them. It's just the price of doing business.

You're not doing anything wrong.

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The would-be partner organization invests plenty of time in the cooperation already at this stage: meetings to define the scope, contract negotiations, etc.

Pay them for their time. If this happened to me once, I'd chalk it up as the cost of doing business. If this happened repeatedly with the same client I'd bill them for my time. You ought to offer to pay them (some amount) for their time.

Not to mention that I have to search for new contractors again and again

Why are you looking for new contractors every time? Have the previous contractors refused to work with you because of this? If so, offer to pay them for their time.

If it were me and you brought me in for meetings and such and paid me for my time and nothing ever came of it, I probably wouldn't care all that much. I've been paid to listen and participate. If you do nothing with the project that's your business.

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