With a lot of new business closed this last month, estimating has been a recurring activity.
As a management consultancy, we are essentially a professional service: we apply our expertise and problem solving ability to deliver value to our clients. Our costs are hourly, and that is the most efficient and effective way to charge our clients.
The trick comes with estimating how much it will cost to deliver the desired solution. Because web applications are so complex, flexible and invisible, it is rarely clear what costs will be incurred. Developing a detailed, accurate intial estimate incurs its own costs, which are better applied to delivering the solution.
Of course a client needs to know the costs involved. When we have a trusted relationship, it is usually satisfactory to gather a list of desired features, then quickly provide a price range. The client can then adjust the feature set if required, then set a target budget within the range. We then manage the project to that target, adjusting details of the features as required to deliver the best value within the budget.
Fortunately, most of the new clients we’ve engaged with recently have quickly understood that we are heavily invested in delivering a successful solution, and that includes providing good value for the costs incurred.
It has been a pleasure to come to mutually agreeable terms without labouring through the estimating/negotiating process. Thank you!