[thelist] Fulltime to freelance

sbeam sbeam at onsetcorps.net
Tue Nov 25 13:26:35 CST 2008

On Tuesday 25 November 2008 12:44, Matt Warden wrote:
> This happens all the time in larger, bureaucratic organizations. There
> are ways to defend against it, but to take a position that you will
> never deviate from the specified requirements is short-sighted and not
> optimal from a reputation-based and relationship-based sales
> perspective.

I am no dogmatist about it, believe me - I eat hours all the time if it 
becomes the path of least resistance. But *ideally* it isn't necessary 
because of due diligence and applying a lot of boring, non-billable hours to 
the problem of stating the obvious. You certainly will be better off doing 
it, than not. And professional, legal, good looking estimates will land 
better clients (well put by Phil)

As far as the cone of uncertainty goes, that is so true. But there is a way of 
offsetting that risk in fixed-bids. All businesspeople can understand that 
having you assume risk will cost them money (if they can't, maybe not such a 
good client to have). But occasionally you are forced to wade into a project 
with blinders on, but it's a big gamble (currently living it). So the 
estimate covers the worst-case scenario, or close to it. The key is to have 
the luxury of being able to live without such clients, should they balk at 
the cost up front.

There is also the possibility of reducing the risk by doing a small up-front 
Discovery project where you define the requirements, do stakeholder 
interviews, use-case scenarios, general IA, etc (we do this pretty often 

Or, if you have a simple arrangement for ad-hoc hourly billing with a client 
that is working, then fine. It's all good, I didn't mean to come off as a 
critic of your methods Fred. I was just trying to say, in general, don't be 
afraid to invest significant non-billable time up front because in my 
experience it sucks but it pays off eventually and reduces disputes to almost 

For the OP maybe this is informative as probably the #1 problem in this type 
of business (whether solo or large shop) is estimating how much work you have 
to do and getting paid for all of it. The actual development is the easy part 
(because you are already a superstar at that, right?)

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