TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: IS AN ESTIMATE A COMMITMENT? From:Lin Laurie <linlaurie -at- EMAIL -dot- MSN -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 12 Jun 1998 09:27:41 -0700
I believe an estimate is only an educated guess. It in no way implies a
commitment to a deadline. However, I do think that if you are working on a
project and begin to see that it isn't possible to meet estimated project
deadlines, it is your responsibility to notify those above that you can't
make the date. That way, someone can make the decision of whether to keep
the scope of your project as originally planned, to change the due date for
the project, or throw more people on it. Of course, overtime can become an
option, but that is something that should be discussed with those in
command. You shouldn't just assume that you have to kill yourself meeting a
deadline that might be more flexible than you realized.
I have found over the years of working in the software industry (as a
developer and writer) that some deadlines are just random dates someone
threw out there as a good time to aim at. Other deadlines are hard because
other projects are waiting on the completion of your piece. Commercial
software deadlines can get pretty hard when the software company schedules
printing presses or cd presses for a certain time period. It could cost
them money to reschedule, or they may even have to find another company to
fulfill their order if they delay things.
When I estimate a job, I try very hard to stick to the estimate. But I also
tell my clients (and have them sign a contract) that I work on a time and
material basis. However long it takes is however long they'll be billed
for. I can't think of anyone I've ever worked with/for that had a problem
with that, within reason. They may want weekly updates on my progress,
reviews, and other monitoring options built into the contract so that I
don't just run off with their money and give them something they don't like
in the end.