Estimating fixed-rate projects

Subject: Estimating fixed-rate projects
From: "M. Dannenberg" <midannen -at- SI -dot- BOSCH -dot- DE>
Date: Wed, 21 May 1997 09:56:50 +0200


I tried this once, and found quickly that it was impossible. We settled
on billing by time and that worked out OK. I think the only way to cover
your backside is to state in the contract exactly what information the
client is supposed to provide in what time-frame. E.g. the beta version
has to be ready at a precise date, the user-interface has to be frozen,
etc. You'd also have to specify what you need in terms of engineering
drafts, developer face-time, etc. Then if anything goes wrong, i.e. any
of the specified things don't happen, you can raise a red flag
immediately, and then renegotiate.

In the project mentioned that would not have been possible, because the
guys didn't have their development process sorted out at all, they
basically weren't even sure what exactly they were developing. The
product was delayed by half a year, and they ended up hring me for half
a year longer than they expected, but that was OK with everybody
involved. Now, if I had bid on a fixed rate, I would have been stuck
very deep in the smelly brown stuff.


Mike Dannenberg
midannen -at- si -dot- bosch -dot- de

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