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

Top Challenges When Using Slack For Managing Projects And Clients

How do you make the most out of using Slack? If you have to be available for emergencies but want to skip all the noise and offtopic going on, what would you do? The Downsides Of Using Slack In Practice Even with per-channel notification options and plenty of channels, it's easy to miss an important convo. Examples: 1) Are client/partner channels on or off? "On" means loads of noise. "Off" means you don't see emergencies if other folks aren't on duty. 2) How often do you look into "general help" channels helping out colleagues? It's a slippery slope. 3) What… Continue Reading

How To Prepare For A Software Engineering Job

Getting ready for your first software engineering job can be daunting. Developers are in demand, but gaining the minimum skill set for becoming competitive usually takes 2-3 years. The first job or two as an engineer could be quite challenging to land. The two most important things you need to understand first are: Your job cannot teach you everything. Learning through pet projects and continuous reading and practice is extremely important - especially over the first 5–8 years.Programming is a craft that relies on hundreds of parallel activities - understanding computer architectures, algorithms, data structures, networks, different programming languages and paradigms, effective… 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

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

Why Does WordPress Fall Behind In Tech?

What I call a "Community Virus" is a fraction of a community that sets a bad example. You know, when you're a part of the society and there's a small (or larger) number of people doing bad stuff and are loud and annoying at the same time, and you tend to get embarrassed while shopping near them in the supermarket or at the airport. The Manifesto I was reading an email from Curtis with his manifesto - "NO is NOT a Curse Word" (definitely subscribe here and read it) and he's explaining his strategy for working with customers and valuing his services. It's a… 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

Fighting the Scope Creep

Scope creep is the process of adding more and more features to a fixed-cost project at the end of the development process or during delivery. Long story short, the client expects more features, better UI, or additional services within the agreed quote, which is not expected and hasn’t been planned by the web development agency. We have written a long Scope creep post for the DevriX tutorials section defining the problem, how to identify it, and the possible resolutions (at least for new projects). The CHAOS report identifies the majority of the projects as projects that failed or led to… Continue Reading

Hourly Rates, Amount Of Work And Availability

Note: This essay is not always applicable while some projects definitely demand a straight work schedule, reporting and collaboration between the team members. However it reflects the majority of projects and clients out there in the wild. As an employer I prefer to charge on a project basis. It's easier to plan my budgets and the costs of the final results. As a contractor I prefer hourly payments. It helps dropping the pressure from incorrect specifications and further negotiations after the project and the budget have already been set. However I am well acquainted with the pros and cons of… Continue Reading

Project-base, Support and Salary

  During my couple years of work as a PC techy support guy, administrator, company hired developer and freelancer, I've finally separated three different types of work: project-base, support and salary. Project-base This is a popular way of working in USA and Europe. The client has a task to be performed by an expert. Therefore the employer seeks for an appropriate guru to fulfil the one's requirement. Simple as that. What are the major characteristics of project-base work? fixed requirements usually short-term or medium-term fixed price for the whole project or different phases Focusing on the broader perspective, a freelancer could be hired… Continue Reading