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Even for small, non-software development work a clear understanding of
requirements, deliverables and change control is imperative.
Try adapting the Requirements Specification (RS) to your needs analysis.
Write a simple RS to define, estimate and bid the work.
When agreement is reached on scope, have the client sign off on that RS - it
then becomes your Acceptance Criteria (AC), an agreed-upon statement that
when the work specified therein is done, you are done and payment is due.
Then augment a change control system, perhaps something like your "Extras
Slip" which adds scope to the AC. You may in fact find yourself to be the
originator of an Extras Slip, when you discover that more work is involved
in a task than was originally contemplated, or that a "simple" requirement
has hidden complexities.
When either you or the client submits an Extras Slip, you negotiate costs,
both sign off, and add that slip as an attachment to the AC.
The AC and attached Change Log (your Extras Slips) becomes a lifecycle
document - one that lives from start to finish as a single common source of
At project end you have documented evidence that you did what was asked and
no more, and they have assurance that they are being asked to pay for what
they asked for, and no less.
Plus, that document becomes a project history, from which you can extract
various metrics and lessons learned. Over time a review of these project
histories will allow you to better estimate your time and capabilities,
which can only help all parties involved.
This simple process gives both you and the client a method for agreement.
Estimation, expectations, timeframes, etc. are all better met by a clear
understanding of the AC. This protects the client from your attempting to
gold-plate the work, and you from the dangers of scope-creep.
From: Stan Schwartz <stanz -at- cam -dot- org>
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 09:42:46 -0500
A propos of of the-advice-for-free thread, I thought I'd share a
tid-bit that I ran across.
Occasionally, I find that I'm asked to produce material in addition
to what I've quoted. There isn't enough work or time to quote
separately from the WIP but it is evident that the work is necessary.
Rather than do the work for free or even for good will, I want to
charge the client.
While approving work at a printer, I saw a pad of forms entitled: EXTRA'S
It reads, "The following circumstances or changes have resulted in
extra time and materials to produce this job." There is space for Job
#, Date, Customer, Explanation, Additional time, and Additional
It seemed the perfect vehicle to use to justify additional charges.
It is handy enough to be used to document situations as they occur
and official-looking enough so they have never been refused when
attached to an invoice that reflects the increase.
Now's a great time to buy RoboHelp! You'll get SnagIt screen capture
software and a $200 onsite training voucher FREE when you buy RoboHelp
Office or RoboHelp Enterprise. Hurry, this offer expires February 28, 2002. www.ehelp.com/techwr
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