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Contract Killers : Comments

By Andy Budd

September 17, 2007


Gyorgy Fekete

September 18, 2007 1:36 AM

Target scope contracts sounds interesting.
I’m interested in the exact steps of dealing with such contracts, I mean on what basis you tag parts of a project core, deferred, desired
If the client’s considers a deferred part should be core. What then?

Andy Budd

September 18, 2007 2:25 AM

It’s really just a case of using your professional judgement, and then negotiating the scope with your clients.

Normally discussions centre on the middle ground i.e. You think something should be desired when your client thinks it should be core. You can then discuss why your client thinks that piece of functionality is important and why you think it is less so. Sometimes you’ll find that your client has a very good business reason for something being core, while at other time they may have over estimated the importance of a bit of functionality.

If a client thinks something is core and you think it should be deferred, then there is obviously a big disconnect between your understanding of the product, users or business goals and theirs. We’re yet to experience this, but again it’s all about discussion and negotiation.

Robin Ragle-Davis

September 18, 2007 2:26 AM

I really like this concept. I am working on a proposal now – had created a very detailed proposal but not a functional spec or wireframes as I always considered those part of the project itself and not really doable at the proposal stage.

Target Scope appears to allow productive give and take at an early stage. No matter how you look at it a lot of otherwise billable hours go into proposal development.


September 18, 2007 5:12 AM

Thanks for the good article. Can you explain the difference between ‘day rate’ and ‘at cost’?


Robert Foerster

September 18, 2007 5:58 AM

It’s vital to add an experience percent right ontop…much like a cherry. Not to over charge, but if you have 10 years experience in a given field, you put a 10% charge righton top of the cost.

Remember, this isn’t an assembly line, the client is not only paying for the act of creating the “site/s” etc., They are paying for your X years of experience etc..

J. Smith

September 18, 2007 6:55 AM

I’m always interested in hearing alternative ways to cost out projects. I like the idea of building in scope (and cost) flexibility. I’ll have to expolre this. Also, I never really thought about a “day rate”.

Robert Foerster commented about adding an “experience percent” on top. Is this not usually wrapped into the hourly/base cost? Do you actually print this upcharge on the invoice?


September 18, 2007 7:09 AM

What a great article, I’m a creativity nut so I gaurentee a price in order to encourage my clients to step out of their “caution” and really create something with me. But I’ve never been able to anchor it in a contract, the scope based formula will definitely make it into my next project.

It also seams that the target scope is a great way to get the client thinking about functionality very early on in process, a big time and hassle saver for both parties.

Thanks again, for the great article.


September 18, 2007 7:34 AM

Great article. I had been attempting to implement an idea similar to yours in my business and for those clients who are well-informed or familiar with web design and development it goes well. It is with the uninitiated, so to speak, that I continue to have difficulties. But I just realized, you provided the answer for that, too!
Thank you.

John Anderson

September 18, 2007 7:50 AM

How does this process work when you’re iterating through prototypes?

Is this a process you use once the prototype has settled down?

Tony Braide

September 18, 2007 8:35 AM

It’s an interesting article which outlines a logical approach to dealing with clients and projects.

However, whichever way you look at it, breaking the project down into ‘core’ and ‘differed’ requires a fairly detailed functional spec’ to be produced. Either way you’ll spend a lot of hours in front of your PC before you’ll ever find out if your client has a realistic budget in mind and there is absolutely no way around that particular issue.

In any case, I would always recommend breaking the job down into modules that can be individually costed. Quite often it is the only way of demonstrating to the client how long this stuff actually takes and why his budget needs to be £50k and not £5k.

Andy Budd

September 18, 2007 11:16 AM

@will Sure can. If you charge something out at cost, you’re literally just covering your operational costs. So for a company, this would be the cost of salaries, office space, bills, taxes and any other out goings you may have. Your day rate is the amount you normally charge your clients, which is the sum of your costs and your profit.

Seamus MacD

September 18, 2007 7:30 PM

Love to see/download an example of that spreadsheet!

Eli Ferrall

September 19, 2007 12:47 AM

Sounds great. A good way for stepping up from those smaller jobs where you cut your teeth to the larger ones where you need to show you professionalism in all details of the business.

Thanks for the tips!


September 19, 2007 11:53 AM

para2: “Selling a product has it’s own problems”
read: “its own problems”

para20 (or so): “the scope is be fixed”
read: “the scope is /to/ be fixed”(?)

Great article! Exceedingly relevant to our firm’s current contract-writing challenges.

John Barbagallo

September 19, 2007 9:55 PM

Awesome article. I’m a student at RIT studying New Media Interactive Design and I work with this type of stuff every day…gaining new clients and such.

Thanks for the tips!

P.S. – I agree with Seamus MacD….spreadsheets FTW!


September 20, 2007 4:46 AM

Great article and perfect timing. Im at the tricky stage of sounding out how i move from “yes we can work together” to ironing out the ways/means of capturing all of that to paper. Cheers!

Richard Morton

September 25, 2007 7:16 AM

The target-scope model is basically a form of DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Method or Model, can’t remember which), which is a formal project management method. I think that it is a good model but I don’t know how many clients would be willing to go this route, it’s a bit scary to think you might not get all the function you asked for, but then there are always risks whichever approach you use.


October 4, 2007 9:53 AM

Great! artciel Either way you’ll spend a lot of hours in front of your PC before you’ll ever find out if your client has a realistic budget in mind and there is absolutely no way around


November 1, 2007 3:35 PM

Yes. All these “rules” are correct, undoubtedly. But not all suppliers think so: “I want to create the best site possible so it looks good in my portfolio.”

Look at the main part of the Internet “sites”. There are so many unprofessional, cheap and “quick” sites, was made only because of the money, without thinking about creation of something great.

If all readers of this article will make all their projects more perfect it will be really nice !!! Thanks.

Peter B

February 21, 2008 2:42 PM

Great concept. I have run into scope issues more often recently than I used to. I think clients are realizing they now need to make a larger investment into Interactive, but still want to handle it as they would a traditional marketing exercise. I fully plan to try this approach on my next project and see how it works.

John Harrison

April 3, 2008 5:35 AM

Nice article. The key to success in many projects is often compromise any technique that brings that to the table as soon as possible will be of benefit.

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