[thelist] Writing Proposals

Bill Moseley moseley at hank.org
Mon Dec 18 10:50:19 CST 2006

On Mon, Dec 18, 2006 at 04:18:35PM +0000, Barney Carroll wrote:
> For any kind of serious long-term project, detailed proposals are an 
> absolute must if you want to maintain sovereignty - otherwise the client 
> can say they want everything and demand you cough up, and refuse to pay 
> for extras, overtime, etc.

Anyone know of (or have) example detailed proposals?  I'd be curious
what all is included and to what detail.  I'm sure it varies a lot,
but it would be interesting to review one or two that others use.

I work with small clients and they often don't know exactly what they
want until the project progresses a bit.  I've tried creating more
detailed proposals including screen mockups and specific time lines,
but the projects tend to diverge from the original plans once
development begins and the client sees what it can do.  ("No, that
screen doesn't work, but it would be nice if we could do this instead"
kind of thing.)  Also, I sometimes feel that days working on a
detailed proposal might be better spent getting a skeleton application
set up.

Things get more complex when working with other contractors.  In a
recent job the client had hired a web designer to implement the html.
I was to write the application & database schema.  The design came in
very late and they only mocked up maybe two or three pages out of a
large application.  And the HTML was unusable.  The client was not
really aware why the HTML was not ok (looked fine in their browser).
I ended up spending about 1/3 more time on just the html coding.

Bill Moseley
moseley at hank.org

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