Yuav Kwv yees Li Cas Koj Lub Vev Xaib Ntxiv

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Thaum twg yog qhov yuav ua los ntawm?

Lo lus nug no yog li no haunts kuv when quoting a project. You would think after doing this for years that I'd be able to quote out a project like the back of my hand. It's not how it works. Every project is new and will have it's own challenges. I have one project that's 30 days late simply because of a minor change made by an API that we've been unable to work around. The client is upset at me – rightly so – I told them it would only take a few hours. It wasn't that I lied, it's that I had never guessed that a feature would be deprecated from the API that we were relying on. I haven't had the resources to complete working around the issue (we're getting close, though!).

I refuse to go the other direction and charge hours instead of project estimates, though. I think paying for hours encourages contractors to go over-time and over-budget. Every project I'm currently paying someone else for hours on isn't working. They're all late and I've been underwhelmed by the work. On the contrary, the projects that I've paid a project fee for have come in on time and exceeded expectations. I like exceeding my clients' expectations, too.

Plaub Qhov Yuam Kev Uas Uas Tshuab Koj Cov Kwv Yees Tom ntej:

  1. Ua ntej Qhov Yuam Kev: Xam txog tias yuav ntev npaum li cas koj thiaj yuav ua yam uas tus neeg thovCov. Tsis ncaj ncees lawm. Koj tau ua koj qhov txhaum thawj zaug thiab kwv yees qhov uas tus neeg thov yuav tau, tsis yog dab tsi tus neeg xav tau xav tauCov. Ob qho ib txwm sib txawv thiab cov qhua tuaj noj mov yuav ib txwm xav tau ob zaug ntau npaum li ib nrab rau nqi.
  2. Second mistake: You didn't take the client's delays into consideration. Add a two week delay on the project because their IT department won't get you the access you need. I always try to tell clients, if you get “A” to me by a specific date, then I can deliver. If you don't, Kuv tsis tau cog lus rau ib hnub twg. The Gantt chart doesn't magically shift, I have other clients and jobs already scheduled.
  3. Third mistake: You allowed the client to pressure you into an earlier delivery. You didn't include yuam kev-tuav thiab xeem. The client wanted to cut the costs so they told you to just get it done. Wrong answer! If the client isn't paying for error-handling and testing, then rest-assured you're going to be spending long hours on bugs and maintenance fixes after you go live. Charge for it either way – you're going to do the work now or later.
  4. Fourth mistake: Expectations change along the way, schedules get messed up, priorities get shifted, problems arise that you didn't expect, people turn over…. You're always going to be a lot later than you expected. Don't agree to a shortened timeline nyob rau hauv lub siab los ntawm tus neeg siv khoom. Yog tias koj tau nyam rau koj qhov kev cia siab thawj, koj yuav tau ua rau lawv!

Tsis ntev los no, peb tau pib daim ntawv cog lus nrog lub tuam txhab uas peb pom zoo rau kev them nyiaj nqes peev rau ib qhov project thiab tom qab ntawd tus nqi txhua hli txuas ntxiv rau kev txhim kho thiab txij nkawm. Peb zaum thiab tham cov hom phiaj and what their priorities were – and never even discussed the user interface, design, or any other piece. We set a rough ‘go live' date that was aggressive, but Pat fully understood that the project might be ahead on some features than others. We nailed the launch and are already making headway on a list of enhancements. More importantly, we're both happy.

I don't blow too many estimates but it still happens occasionally. In fact, I'm getting ready to give back a recent contract because, after working on a few projects with the client, I know that even though the client agreed to some vague goals, they're not going to be happy unless they get ten times what the contract is worth. I only wish I could spot these folks earlier. They xav tau mus qiv lawv cov peev txheej los ntawm lub xuaj moos… tau mus rau hauv ib qhov project-based kwv yees nrog lawv yog tus tua neeg.

I'm starting to figure out what's in common with the successful projects we've delivered or are delivering on. Much of it I actually learned through Kev muag khoom kev cob qhia with the assistance of my coach, Matt Nettleton. I've also figured out that most of the success of my projects has started before I ever even signed the client!

Npaum Li Cas Ntsia Tus Kwv:

  1. Xam tawm thaum tus neeg siv xav kom nws. It's their expectations that are most important. You might find that you have a year to complete the work. Why estimate 2 weeks if they're happy with 2 months? You can still complete the job in 2 weeks and exceed all expectations!
  2. Xam tawm what it's worth to the client. If you can't find out what it's worth, then find out what the budget is. Can you complete the project and exceed expectations based on that budget? Then do it. If you can't, then give it up.
  3. Nrhiav seb yog dab tsi lub hom phiaj ntawm qhov kev ua yog. Everything outside the goal is extraneous and can be worked out later. Work to set the goal and complete that goal. If the goal is to get a blog up and running, then get the blog up and running. If it's to build an integration that sends email, then get it to send email. If it's to lower the cost of acquisition, get the cost down. If it's to develop a report, get the report up and running. Pretty comes later and fine-tuning can come at a huge cost with an aggressive timeline. Work on what's most important.
  4. Ua haujlwm rov qab los ntawm koj cov qib zoo. Most of my clients don't use me for menial tasks, they get their money's worth by hitting me up for the big stuff and they fill in to complete the easy work. I love those clients and I aim to both exceed their expectations and provide them ntau dua tus nqi uas lawv tau them rau. By the end of our projects, we're often below budget or exceeding goals, and we're ahead on schedules. They provide me with enough room to exceed their expectations… it's that simple.

I still get pressured to reduce my rates and finish earlier, I think every manager thinks that's what their goal is when working with contractors. It's too bad that they're that short-sighted. I simply let clients know that shorter timelines and less money has a direct impact on the quality of the work they've hired me for. The great thing about paying a great contractor what he's worth is that he'll deliver… and you can expect that he'll deliver. When you continue to undercut or beat your contractors to death, don't be surprised when tsis muaj leej twg ntawm lawv puas tau ua haujlwm tawm. 🙂

I also get outbid all the time. The last time it happened, the company opted for a short-term solution that they are going to have to redevelop with each client. My pricing was about 1.5 times the cost, but I was going to build it so they could re-use the application with each of their clients. The CEO actually chuckled at me when he told me how much he “saved” with the other contractor (a contractor I suggested). Four clients from now, he'll have paid over 3 times the implementation costs. Dummy.

Kuv luag nyav, thiab hloov mus rau kuv qhov kev zoo siab tom ntej, tau ua tiav thiab tau txais txiaj ntsig zoo dua.

3 Comments

  1. 1

    Zoo hais tias Doug. Kuv tseem tawm tsam nrog qhov no ib yam thiab. Thaum nug thaum kuv tuaj yeem ua tiav lub vev xaib, Kuv tau kawm teb, "qhov ntawd nyob ntawm seb koj yuav ua li cas rau txhua yam uas kuv thov."

  2. 2

    Kuv ua tsaug rau koj qhov duav, Doug. Kuv xav ntxiv ib qho kev coj ua zoo tshaj plaws - qhia rau koj cov neeg siv khoom paub thiab muaj pob tshab. Tag nrho cov ntawm no khaws cia qee theem ntawm kev ntseeg siab.

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