RE: bidding a first contract

Subject: RE: bidding a first contract
From: "Johnson, Tom" <TJohnson -at- starcutter -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 3 Nov 2005 09:52:19 -0500

Your 300 hour estimate is probably a lot closer to reality than their 100 hour estimate. I'd visit their company to see if we could come up with hard numbers in terms of required topics. If time allowed, I'd propose an experiment to document one topic on the spot. That would give them a good idea of SME involvement and a reasonable expectation of how productive you can be. You might find they have 400 topics and you could easily justify one hour on that topic. Other topics might only take 10 minutes.

I think the key is to let them understand you want them to be satisfied with what they get for the money, but you have to be satisfied as well. It's better to under promise and over deliver than the other way around.

Having said that, I'm a captive employee and my kids get to eat, even if I misjudge time requirements by a large margin.

One thing is certain, you'll learn from the process and be better prepared for the next project.

Tom Johnson
Technical Writer
tjohnson -at- starcutter -dot- com

-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-techwr-l-185209 -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:bounce-techwr-l-185209 -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com]On Behalf Of Anonymous
Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 9:23 AM
Subject: FW: bidding a first contract

Anonymous wrote:

I've seen comments on the list about JoAnn Hackos'
figures of 8 hours per page for research, writing,
editing, graphics, reviews, and production. If that is
correct, even though I won't have to do graphics,
their estimate of 100 hours is far off!

My thought is that I would suggest it will take
125-150 pages to document their product, and 300 hours
of my time (since I do not have to do any of the
graphics, and I think the Hackos estimate is a little
too high), and make adjustments if the number of hours
it really takes is off by more than 15% either way.


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