An ERP Parable

C.H. Dodd once defined a (Biblical) parable as “a metaphor or simile drawn from nature or common life, arresting the hearer by its vividness or strangeness and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt about its application to tease it into active thought.”
That’s what this is. It’s not about religion. It is a parable about ERP Software.
My neighbor is building an addition to his house. He called several builders, a general contractor or two, and finally his brother-in-law. He then (wisely) hired a general contractor with a good bit of gray in his hair to “help him build the addition.”
The contractor showed up and asked my neighbor, “Where are the plans?”
My neighbor pointed to his temple and tapped it. The contractor rolled his eyes.
“Let’s at least sketch out something on this graph paper,” recommended the contractor. So my neighbor got out his pencil and began to sketch.
“You’ll save some money if we design this like so, and move this unit over here,” recommended the contractor.
“Naw,” said my neighbor, “that would ruin the asthetics of the back yard.”
“Ok,” said the contractor, “I’ve got some men lined up to do the work. When do you want to start? I’ll line up the concrete.”
“I think you’d better show me how to use a hammer and a saw,” answered my neighbor.
“Why?” asked the contractor.
“Because I’m going to help build this addition.”
The next few days were spent with the contractor giving lessons on everything from 8, 10 and 16 penny nails to how to use a hand saw without getting “kick back.” Several times, the contractor recommended ways to cut corners, and said that it might be cheaper just to allow his men to do the work. Each time, my neighbor had a reason that the contractor’s suggestion wouldn’t work. Each time, the contractor said quietly, “Ok.”
Two weeks into the construction job, I heard my neighbor screaming in the back yard. I went out to see what was going on. He was looking at a piece of printed paper.
“We haven’t even poured the slab yet, and this is your bill?” he asked the contractor.
“Yep,” said the contractor simply.
“This is outrageous,” said my neighbor. “This is way over budget!”
“Yep,” said the contractor.
“How in the world can you be this far over budget and the construction isn’t even finished yet?” asked my neighbor.
The contractor just looked at him.