Best practices when taking over a client from another IT consultant?

By egaash ·
Best practices or checklist when taking over a client from another IT consultant?
Let's say its a windows network

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Passswords mostly...

by gechurch In reply to Best practices when takin ...

We have a checklist that we ask the previous IT consultant to fill in. Ours is 3 pages, but the most notable things are:
* Modem/router/switch passwords
* Internet username and password
* Local PC passwords
* iLo/DRAC/whatever password
* Antivirus console login
* Web hosting and (external) DNS login details
* List of CALs (Server OS, Desktop OS, AD, Exchange, RDS, Office), the number owned and type of license. Plus AV, anti-spam, backup etc software licenses.
* List of known problems in the environment (eg. trying to discover things like "the Internet drops out once a fortnight and we power cycle the modem to fix it")

This is of course all wishful thinking. The client dumped the previous provider because they weren't doing client-facing things properly. The chances that they are doing behind-the-scenes things like keeping documentation up to scratch properly is very slim. Generally I'm happy if I get the domain admin password, because all the others can all be reset readily enough.

The other issue is actually getting the previous provider to send this information through. They've just been dumped, so they're not going to feel like spending time (unpaid, generally) filling in details that will help out the next guy. For this reason we generally ask the client to send our checklist through to the ex-consultant for us, and explain to them that this stuff is important and it will be time-consuming to figure this stuff out if it isn't provided. We suggest they pay the previous consultant for their time to fill it in, since it will pay for itself several times over. Does any of this actually help to get the previous consultant to fill in the details? Heck no. But it helps set the clients expectations. When they get our 3-page checklist back and it's all blank except for the domain admin password the client can see how little information we have. It helps stop some of those "Why is this taking so long?" conversations that typically happen when you take on a new client.

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