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what process do you go through to cost out a project?

is there an industry standard method of costing out a project

the problem i have is that when talking to a developer they say "i dont know
how long it will take" which just isnt acceptable
Jul 19 '05 #1
3 1497
> is there an industry standard method of costing out a project

Nope..... it all comes down to the developers chosen way of doing things.

the problem i have is that when talking to a developer they say "i dont know how long it will take" which just isnt acceptable
But this is true.... The developer can give an _estimate_ but even then,
that can change at a moments notice, depending on the project.

Though the following was posted in a VB group, it should be able to give you
an example of why it _IS_acceptable.

Message-ID: <#c**************@TK2MSFTNGP10.phx.gbl>
Newsgroup: microsoft.public.vb.database



Steven Burn
Ur I.T. Mate Group

Keeping it FREE!
"mark | r" <ma**@nmd.freeuk.com> wrote in message
news:40***********************@news.dial.pipex.com ... is there an industry standard method of costing out a project

the problem i have is that when talking to a developer they say "i dont know how long it will take" which just isnt acceptable

Jul 19 '05 #2
The developer should have worked out SOME idea of a project plan
where he/she could as Steven said, 'estimate' a timeframe based on their
quick assessment of the complexity of the tasks...

"mark | r" <ma**@nmd.freeuk.com> wrote in message
news:40***********************@news.dial.pipex.com ...
is there an industry standard method of costing out a project

the problem i have is that when talking to a developer they say "i dont know how long it will take" which just isnt acceptable

Jul 19 '05 #3
"mark | r" wrote in message
news:40***********************@news.dial.pipex.com ...
: is there an industry standard method of costing out a project
: the problem i have is that when talking to a developer they say "i dont
: how long it will take" which just isnt acceptable
: #

Hi Mark...

I run into this all the time and I AM the developer. The problems begins
because the customer either doesn't know what they want, or they're not sure
of what their options are, usually both. If your developer has questions or
concerns, then those have to be addressed but it is very difficult to apply
an exact timeframe and cost to a development project that requires ongoing
communication to be successful especially since there will be issues you
have not considered that crop up. The best you can do is to have a plan
that provides a procedure for handling those when they do occur.

I have found it requires sitting down and planning out what the desired
result will be. Investigate and provide what is current and all variables
involved, i.e. design, layout, research, time frame, where it is developed,
bandwidth, installation, testing, unforeseen errors and delays, etc. and how
to resolve issues. Also, you need an understanding that the developer will
adhere strictly to a job scope. Any modifications should require a written
change request, which requires written approval. At this point you may have
to renegotiate. Do not request modifications verbally. It only leads to
confusion and there is no documentation to back it up. Also, additions are
not part of the original scope and should be treated as such and should be
negotiated separately.

If there is a timeline the developer should follow, then YOU need to provide
it. If s/he accepts, then you are in agreement. You also need to discuss
penalties for delays due to either side and bonuses for early completion
should you want to use that as an incentive. Depending on the size of the
project you need to discuss down payments, payments at certain phases and
final payments upon completion. If the developer does not reside in your
jurisdiction then depending on where the code is developed will determine
that unless a prior agreement is reached should there be issues that require
legal intervention.

Please understand that a developer, however competent and experienced, most
likely has not experienced every possible command with the language being
used nor every possible procedure possible and some research may be required
and/or additional information may be required for you to offer. You, as the
analyst, should work closely with your developer and make yourself available
because if your input is required for their continuation, you will be
responsible for the delay. You might also want to schedule meetings, either
in person or via telecommunications or correspondence to stay abreast of
where the project is at all phases. This will not only help to motivate
your developer but you will find deadlines will be met more often with fewer
issues. I am generally in contact with my customers on a daily basis.

You also need to discuss copyright of the code developed. I hold all
copyright to everything I write, just like MSFT. My customers pay for a
license to use the product with certain restrictions. Some developers
relinquish their rights which could lead to legal issues because code is not
generally rewritten from scratch but rather a library is created, used and
modified over time on many projects and may already be copywritten in whole
or in part. Be sure you cover what your rights are before you begin. If
it's not covered in your agreement, it is harder to prove should it become a
legal issue.

Ex. If you agree for a developer to write code for you and they produce it
and meet your specifications, whether you like it or not is not relevant.
If they have met their obligation, you are required to fulfill your
agreement. Not using it does not mean you still do not have to pay for it.
I currently have one customer who has paid for everything I have written
except for something I wrote to help us communicate during the development
process. He said he wanted to keep it and asked for additional features to
be added. I informed him it would an additional cost for him to keep it and
the additional features have been produced. He has since decided, after
weeks of using it, he does not want to keep it because that requires
additional payment, but he still has it on his site and is still using it.

He is liable for requesting additional features and the time required to
include those. He could be found guilty of theft of service should I choose
to pursue legal action. If he does not remove the code he has not paid for,
and destroy all copies, he could be found liable for a copyright violation.

Be sure when you make your agreement that you know exactly what you've
agreed to, how to handle issues, jurisdiction and having a termination
clause is also helpful along with a non-fulfillment clause. If your
developer decides he does not want to continue, for any reason, your
agreement should cover how to handle that.

This is for informational purposes only related to my personal experiences.
You should always have an attorney, familiar with contract law and the IT
industry, including the development life cycle, review your agreement for
your own protection. It is the cheapest form of insurance you can get.

I have only the one current issue where the customer is not playing fair.
All of my other projects have been fairly smooth and all have been completed
successfully where both parties are satisfied. Your projects should be good
experiences and just taking the time to call your developer and talk to them
can usually solve almost any issue and get things back on track.


Roland Hall
/* This information is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
without any warranty; without even the implied warranty of merchantability
or fitness for a particular purpose. */
Technet Script Center - http://www.microsoft.com/technet/scriptcenter/
WSH 5.6 Documentation - http://msdn.microsoft.com/downloads/list/webdev.asp
MSDN Library - http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp
Jul 19 '05 #4

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