14 Reasons Why the Website RFP Process Is Really Broken

One of the most painful roadblocks of the web ecosystem is the practice of creating and submitting RFPs (Request for Proposals). And among the leading reasons why we transitioned to WordPress retainers back in 2014 was precisely due to how broken this process is. (The other key goal was focusing on recurring revenue.) But since the process of recruiting agencies and freelancers is so ridiculous at large, let's look up some raw data. 80% Of All Projects Fail The most trusted and authoritative source of data in terms of project success and failure rates is the CHAOS report by the… Continue Reading

How to Estimate a Web Development/Design Project?

"How much does X cost?" is one of the most common (and yet complicated) questions in the software engineering industry. Estimating development projects is rarely a straightforward process, because of the broad gap between "simple" and "truly complex" variation of the same business problem, along with the external context (all 3rd parties) -- and let's not forget unclear requirements and scope creep. Estimates Are Extremely Hard There’s a good reason why many service providers: build a limited set of solutions in order to stick to sane ballparks,venture into building products, orproductize their services under a manageable scope. I wrote a… Continue Reading

How to Determine the Cost of a University Website?

Pricing is never easy. Estimating work is one of the most tedious activities for me when discussing a new project proposal - let alone a migration or something based on an existing code base. This was the reason for me to write Why Are Estimates Challenging For Custom Development Work? and engage in similar discussions every now and then. The main problem is that there’s often a disconnect between a customer’s expectations or budget and the cost of building a solution. Most of the actual development goes into building various layers that don’t expose UI, integrating caching engines, dealing with… Continue Reading

Why Are Estimates Challenging For Custom Development Work?

I've been browsing and replying on Quora over the holidays and one of the questions made me think deeper about the estimation challenges when quoting custom development work: At DevWP I've already blogged about why I avoid estimates and the reason we do provide retainer services for our ongoing accounts. I'm no stranger to budget constraints and upfront expectations, but unlike the products business, services may vary drastically. [caption id="attachment_12201" align="aligncenter" width="1241"] dilbert.com showcases estimates in a nutshell[/caption] In the Quora example, the customer needed a drawing solution for his website. However, there are plenty of variables, such as: What features… Continue Reading

7 Reasons Why I Avoid Estimates

Every time I need to do estimates, I cringe a little. I no longer do estimates for small and medium clients since it creates false expectations and takes a huge amount of time. [caption id="attachment_11618" align="aligncenter" width="682"] Useless estimates[/caption] Which is why I talk about pricing and budgets a lot: An Estimate is Not a Deadline Estimation is Arbitrary - Risk is Out There WordPress Services and My Pricing Strategy The Slippery Slope of WordPress Customizations I got involved with business development and estimations in 2007 as a Java developer, estimating custom development for several clients. Every now and then I need… Continue Reading

An Estimate Is Not a Deadline

I had a few meetings over the last few weeks that were focused on tight deadlines. Two of the clients were burned by other agencies who didn't deliver so they were already behind schedule and wanted the projects done ASAP. Or even - much faster than ASAP. The Estimate Factor I've shared my thoughts on the risks of estimating a project before and I'm quite careful when I do the initial discovery meetings and R&D. Especially for larger projects or migrating existing custom platforms built many years ago with tons of features and integrations with various services. Doing the right estimation is… Continue Reading

Estimation Is Arbitrary – Risk is Out There

Chris Lema posted about his approach for Estimating Without Requirements and this is one of the most brilliant posts of his that I've ever read. When I started my freelance career, the first thing I encountered was the estimation challenge. Working full-time at a company is often estimation-free - you can give some rough numbers in a matter of weeks or so, but in general the work takes as long as it takes and that's it. Some of the PM resources online suggest that you need to multiply your estimate by 1.5 or even by 3 if you're not too experienced. Then… Continue Reading