In today's economy, it seems that everything is about cutting costs here and cutting costs there. While I agree that cutting costs and improving the bottom line are both vital to sustaining and growing a business, it's also important not to forget quality craftsmanship and attention to detail. I recently worked with a small company that needed specific project done in their office. I explained to them that there were two approaches... just getting it done quickly, and spending a little more time to get the job done right. In order to save money, they opted for me to just get the job done. I reiterated the importance of spending a little more time to get it done right, but they insisted, so I obliged.
Within a couple hours, I had the job completed according to the project scope, and we parted ways. Three days later, I received a phone call from the same company asking for additional help on that very same project. Although I anticipated that phone call at some point, I didn't expect it quite that quickly. We reviewed the initial project specifications again, and both parties agreed that it had been completed as per the initial request. While those specifications would have been sufficient for the short-term, it wasn't a solid solution for the long-term. To them, it was more important to save a few bucks upfront.
In the end, this client decided to take the more complete approach to the project, and have been very happy with it since (and have actually adjusted their network strategy as a result). Sure, it cost a little extra in time upfront, but it will be worth it to them in the long-run (and ironically, will save them money over time).
Not everything in life can be (or should be) based solely on initial cost. Quality, in my opinion, is just as important, if not more so. When I begin a project, I recognize that my name is attached to that project. The way I design a network, the way I implement a system... it has to be done right.
There are two specific industries that obviously have a much greater interest in cutting costs than in the quality of their product/service (at least in general): the airline industry and the mobile phone industry (carriers). When is the last time you had a truly great experience with either of those industries? For me, it's rare, and that's unfortunate. There is so much potential for them to do great things. All they have to do is shift their focus and pay a little more attention to the customer. The customer, after all, is what keeps their business in business.
The next time you work with a technology professional (whether me or someone else), don't be so quick to assume that it's all about the billable hours. Having said that, it's still important to ask the right questions to determine if they feel the same way about quality work that I do.