Re: Time Standards on Contractors

Subject: Re: Time Standards on Contractors
From: "Sella Rush" <sellar -at- mail -dot- apptechsys -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 15:44:20 -0800

As usual, Andrew makes some good, albeit extreme, points. But--

>If you do EVERYTHING you client asks, and maybe a little more, then you'll
>a win-win situation. However, make damn certain you meet ALL the client's
>expectations no matter how foolish or outlandish you think they are.

This only works if you can correctly identify exactly what the client's
expectations are AND if their estimate of the job adequately covers their
own expectations.

We've all been in situations where the employer, intentionally or not, is
way off on their time estimates for documentation. Also, lots of
employers/managers I've met, take the visual and readability aspects for
granted as part of any writing job. If I tried to separate the "prettying"
aspects from the functional (getting words on paper), I would not be meeting
their expectations, stated or not.

A red flag for me in Markatos' original post was the employer's estimate and
the fact that they tied one module to a day's worth of work.

In my current captive job, I've had SMEs ask me for an estimate on a
project, while others have simply presented me with a block of hours (and
usually no rationale on how they arrived at it). I respond to the first
with a usually multi-tiered estimate (although always including "finishing"
time), and the second with an estimate of what they can reasonably expect to
receive for the time they've allotted.

The fact that they're arbitrarily dividing the work into equal chunks by
module makes me wonder if this device is more convenient than accurate. It
may be true that all the modules are exactly the same in terms of effort;
but I would certainly check it out. While some modules take an extra hour
or two, other modules might go faster and even things out.

Based on the project description, the employer doesn't seem unreasonable,
but Markatos' has to do his homework and be willing to buy into the
employer's expectations and estimates. Or successfully convince them to

Sella Rush
mailto:sellar -at- apptechsys -dot- com
Applied Technical Systems (ATS)
Silverdale, Washington
Developers of the CCM Database

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