[thelist] Fulltime to freelance

Fred Jones fredthejonester at gmail.com
Tue Nov 25 12:03:58 CST 2008

>> I would think that is lucky. My jobs don't just creep a bit in
>> scope--they often double, if not more, by the end of the job. To go
>> back to the client every day or two and say, "Well, you know, we never
>> mentioned that feature..." etc. makes both them and me crazy. That's
>> my experience anyhow.
> Then maybe you need to re-consider how you are setting expectations for the
> job. Everything needs to be written and detailed in specifications/
> functional requirements and _signed_ before work begins. If there is any
> question about whether or not something is out of scope, then you haven't
> done enough planning. Some clients can be difficult but you should be able to
> just point to the reqs and resolve any dispute in minutes (ideally).

Right, some clients can be difficult. I would also venture to say that
someone (I refer to Phil, not sbeam) with Fortune 500 clients and a
staff of 3 doesn't really qualify as a "freelancer." With three full
time people, that's more like a business/shop/studio. :)

Regarding this issue of scope creep, I think it depends a lot on the
nature of the clients. Mine are mostly small timers--either
individuals or small businesses or organizations. They may not even
know what they want, aside from "a web site." The fact is that I work
mostly by the hour these days and so scope creep doesn't really hurt
me generally. My clients understand that the more work they request,
they more they're going to pay.

As far as gathering requirements and making a proposal with a fixed
price, I find that extremely difficult. I do not believe I am the only
one. The "Cone of Uncertainty" is a known pitfall of software


Based on those, I am amazed that people *are* able to work on fixed
prices. Even aside from the above, one never knows what the client is
like. I have one client who emails me literally 20 times per page with
tiny corrections and adjustments. She knows that I will charge her for
each one, but that's how she works and so she sends them, I do them,
and she pays.

This has been my experience, anyhow. Like I said, I think it really
depends on your clients. If they are more like businesses or more
professional types, then perhaps the uncertainty is reduced, but the
studies above were performed, AFAIK, on professional situations.


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