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Many years of my experience in web and mobile development, including complex and often risky quoting processes I was involved in during my career at Stepin Solutions, has left me with the same dilemmas: how to accurately quote web projects? What time buffers should I assume? What risks to consider?…
The final quote sent to the client is based on the time estimate and aforementioned factors. I’m sure the same patterns are applied by the most of worldwide web agencies which struggle with clients requesting fixed-bid assignments.
What are the client-side results of fixed-price approach?
Quotes sent in by potential project managers are probably not free of overestimating. Let’s face the truth – in most of the cases it is the project managers who is more aware about the real costs and potential risks of a project.
Of course, years of experience in managing software projects allow to estimate resource needs more accurately, however even with the help of Nostradamus we are not able to predict every possible situation. And I’m positive there are more situations like this than characters in this article! Even solid track-record and extensive experience in custom web application development does not make it much easier to predict problems with various website components or with integrating the software with an external APIs.
Medium- and low-budget developments created with a help of open-source solutions such as Symfony or Drupal or Magento can be delivered within accurately prepared estimates and without major issues. On the other hand, custom development can create complications and getting into more and more specific requirements brings unwanted project growth. And then, we either start to try and force-fit the project in the budget or debate on whether the requirements meet preset project scope or not. Instead of working on the real project development, we waste days or even weeks talking about it, negotiating and clarifying the specification.