SIGIA-L Mail Archives: RE: SIGIA-L: Reasonable weekly commitmen
RE: SIGIA-L: Reasonable weekly commitments and conditions for consulting (long, but thought-provoking)
From: Horacio Salazar (horacio_at_daniloblack.com)
Date: Mon Sep 03 2001 - 18:30:52 EDT
Here are my suggestions:
Since you have already calculated a number of hours, I get the
impression you have an approximate grasp of the project's scope. If
that's the case, then write a statement of work stipulating that the
agreed conditions will be valid as long as your estimated scope is
valid. Any deviations will be considered in a separate budget.
Let me be more specific.
Suppose you read the initial documents and you estimate the site will
have 90-100 pages, with such and such functionality and such and such
contents. For this, you estimate XX weeks working an average of YY hours
per week. You offer your client a detailed project specifying this, with
specific activities for every week.
You also specify that the project can of course grow, but any change in
scope must be evaluated in respect to its impact to the development
effort. And every major change in scope must be accompanied by a
recalculation of your delivery time.
If, as you say, you have a fixed delivery date, you can accommodate for
a change working extra, but that should cost more, let's say 1.5 times
your usual fee.
You must be very firm and clear with your customer: he or she has to
know that what you do is important and cannot be changed easily. And
they should be aware of the cost involved in any change.
These are my thoughts. I hope they are useful.
Director de Arquitectura de Información : WebMedia : Danilo Black
Asociados : www.daniloblack.com
T +52 8133.9300 x 9380
From: David R. Austen [mailto:dausten_at_hoosier.net]
Sent: Lunes, 03 de Septiembre de 2001 02:14 p.m.
Subject: SIGIA-L: Reasonable weekly commitments and conditions for
consulting (long, but thought-provoking)
I am in the midst of negotiations with a new client ready to hire me as
an IA on a contract basis. We have settled on an hourly fee, but here is
a wrinkle which has not come up before. I want to know what is
reasonable for us to each expect as a time and fee commitment. I
1. He will try to get this in under budget and then enjoy rewards for
"managing people so well." AND / OR
2. He will be in a position to take funds (that he can justify now as
needed for his AI) and then use them in other ways later.
Background: His client imposed a delivery deadline without specifying an
exact number of pages or much of the functionality; so there is
Late in negotiations now, he announces that the number of hours I
estimated for myself is too much, strongly suggesting that he will find
ways to cut this back as we go along. (In the very beginning I
committed to making myself available 30 hours a week for this
project.) I just don't have quite enough experience in this to know what
is really *unreasonable;* he has little knowledge of the UCD development
Here are *some* of the dimensions to cutting back on my hours:
1. He will find low-paid workers to do whatever parts of the (12
stage) development process they will be able to understand from brief
instructions, or suddenly hire them to work under my supervision.
2. We deliver less functionality to his client than would otherwise be
3. We install less content on this site than would otherwise be
4. We shortcut the UCD process. (He is not reluctant to surprise us.)
5. I may find myself renegotiating on a weekly basis, justifying this
week the number of hours necessary to perform certain tasks the
6. While we are in early/middle stages, my weekly hours may well be less
than what *I* initially understood, but then they may increase
dramatically in the final stages when we are up against the clock. It
may "all come out in the wash," but I think pacing myself from the
beginning is just good common sense. And nobody would complain if we are
ahead of schedule.
7. We may miss the deadline, and the client will perceive that due to my
absences I am "responsible" for that, as the IA.
8. The chaotic nature of varying hours within the contract concerns me.
And perhaps more chaotic scheduling will ensue if my client misses the
deadline or successfully "upsells." This puts me in a very awkward
position when it comes to committing to work on another job for a
different client, but still stuck on a "previous" job, possibly at
something under .5 or even .3 FTE.
Is it not reasonable to expect to be working at least a certain number
of hours a week for at least a certain number of weeks? Both parties can
be open to an eventual offer to extend the contract, of course. Work I
have done on contract in another life (seems like another
planet!) leads me to believe that there must be certain parameters.
Your views on one of more of these points would be most welcome,
friends. I just need to know some reasonable "rules of the road" in IA
(IT) consulting so that I can ask the right questions, hear the right
answers and establish conditions before we start, to avoid problems
If anybody has a sample contract, I would love to see the part that
spells out conditions that I might need for my own protection. But I
also want to be reasonable with the client(s) too.
Reasonable weekly commitments and conditions for consulting (long, but
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