how and when to estimate time and price for a Goal-Directed project
25 Oct 2007 - 3:38am
8 years ago
I'm a MSc student with a focus in UCD, IxD, and usability. I have got
the opportunity to work in a web development project as a freelance.
In summary, they just want something new and better.
We have had one meeting and exchanged a few emails. I have spent some
time "auditing" their actual website and looking at potential
problems and what changes would probably be needed in order for them
to better promote their site, entity and services. Obviously, before
agreeing in working with me, I am required to send in a proposal with
an estimate of time and cost for this project.
My problem is, I cannot tell how long it will take to do "something"
when I still don't know what that "something" is. From my mini audit
I have come up with the conclusion that their initial "specs" (or
wish list) are just taking the wrong problem with the wrong approach.
I can see things that would require changes, but specially I see
things that require more research to really know what to do about them.
So, let's say we have to completely refocus what they have at the
moment and split it in two different sites. The high-level goals for
each site are quite clear, however, exactly what "features" and
qualities each site will have depend on what insights come from the
initial research, and without knowing what features are needed, I
can't tell how long it would take to implement them. You see my problem?
I really can't find any info about this. Whatever advise I find about
estimating fits in one of these 2 categories:
1. they don't do any design, so the "requirement analysis" is done
almost during a couple of preliminary interviews;
2. they explain the process that occurs *after* the client has
already signed the contract agreeing to work with you.
For all of you freelancers and employees at companies, at what point
do you tell a potential customer how long/much will a project cost?
and, how can you tell before doing the research? (which won't happen
until they have agreed to work with you).
PS: I have some historical data from previous work so I can tell, for
example, how long it would take me to develop a database for mailing
list subscribers and the forms for subscription and such. However,
without the research I cannot tell if this new website would have a
newsletter at all---it probably will, but this is just an example.
PPS: this is my very first message to the list! this is so exciting! :)