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Setting a completion date for project...

 11:14 pm on Aug 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

When going into a project, what are some things that help you determine how long you should give yourself to have it finished?

It might get easier determining length after a multitude of projects- but what are some good mile markers if you know what I mean?

Thank you as always-



 11:39 pm on Aug 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

You talking about SEO project or Programming project?

For SEO Project, you need to mainly think about time SE's and Dir take to index/list/rank your site + your speed of working + client field of business....... there are quite a few other things, but I would rank these pretty high.

For programming... your knowledge about particular language, project size, your understanding about the project, ....... and more.

Hope this help. :)


 12:35 am on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Oh. Sorry, I meant designing a website from inception to completion. I figure SEO to be thrown into that mix.

Well, how long have some of your bigger projects been? How about the shortest?


 12:49 am on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

how about 2 days to 2 months for web design. Remember, setting up layout is one thing and getting content is another thing [a very important thing ;)]

Don't take it personal, but there is no fix timeframe. It all depends on your skills, project, client .... So only you can guess how long will it take to get x amount of pages ready. Yeah, also don't forget - client will generally ask for few updates after seeing the final site :)


 1:28 am on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well, how long have some of your bigger projects been? How about the shortest?

A couple days to a couple months. NeedScripts is right, every project is different and a lot of it depends on the client.

The more you do it, the more comfortable you'll get guessing how long to schedule out a project. But even when you're at your most comfortable, you'll realize that the client can throw your entire schedule off with constant changes to the project scope.


 1:35 am on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

When a client needs completion dates, we write very clear language into the contract about the client's responsibility for content and how default on content delivery will affect the completion date.

Going further, a very important factor (and often the one hardest to pin down for time) is the upfront organizational work that goes into creating a solid information architecture. Many clients have no sense of what that means, or how it affects the success of their site.


 2:10 am on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Don't take it personal

None taken. And thanks for your input you guys. I realize that the project scope will depend on the type of programming involved, amount of data and complexity of each...

I guess in the beginning it will be easiest to give myself a bit of room to breath. I would hate setting something for a week and it take me three;)

Just to get some ideas from those folks who've been through it. Do you generally have a sit down with your clients to discuss the site they need- and hit them with a scope then and there? How do you normally go about letting them know what your schedule for work is?


 9:48 am on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

experience is the best way to know how long a job will normally take, but however long you think it'll take, sods law says it'll take at least twice that ....

for a small job, say 1-14 days, i normally state that completion will normally be within 14 days, but i set a final termination date to be another couple of weeks later - maybe the end of the month etc. for larger jobs, i'll set a final termination date 4-6 weeks later. i state that the contract will termination upon completion or on the final termination date, whichever comes first, and payment will be due say 7 days following completion.

this then covers for any eventuality such as client not providing content or not approving something before you can move on to the next stage, or illness (me or client) or for me getting a number of new business enquiries while i'm in the middle of a project, or for computer failure or for another client messing up his site and needing it fixed urgently and so on.

this allows me to work hard and complete early and get paid early. it also allows me to terminate and move on to the next project if the client doesn't co-operate etc.

clients seem to like it, i like it, all works out quite well. takes a lot of pressure off both me and the clients by having the fairly loose deadline. i've not had any problems with it so far.


 1:50 pm on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Excellent method for getting a little breathing room- thanks for sharing.

As far as payment is concerned- I think it's best to say 50% up front, 50% upon completion. I don't know if there is a better formula, but this seems cool because you don't have to bother the client too much.

After 7 days do you start adding late fees? Or do they seem attentive?


 2:12 pm on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Most of my contracts explains a general process, step by step. It is assorted to a time table where who delivers what and when is in black and white. This time table must be consulted and aproved (signed) by all responsible parts. The tighter the dead line the higher will be the production cost.

If some party gets late for some good reason, the rest of the team should have selected side work to do. Such side work should be independent of shedule and is unfortunatly not possible for every part. Changes in shedule is almost inevitable. Be flexible to some extent, verify evolution of all different process at all times. Increasingly increase the pressure if you see trouble in advance.

Right now, I am putting the polishing touch on a site that is 6 weeks late. We had to gather informations from many different house builders and real estate companies. The high amount of information sources was the main explanation for it. It is an important factor.


 11:18 pm on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

50 - 50 can work and seems a reasonably popular way of billing, but for me it's a double invoicing process and not always worth bothering with - they have a legal liability to pay up once the contract is signed, so that's good enough for me. everythings worked out fine so far. (if a client seems dodgy, i don't bother with them)

i don't bother with tying up contracts in detail like macguru - so long as the client understands what they need to do (ie, provide content by a certain date) then all should work out fine. if they fail to provide and cause me to fail to complete, they still have to pay. no problems so far.

i guess you gotta decide how you want to play it. sometimes it'll be best to tie everything up tightly, sometimes it won't. sometimes it'll be best to charge partial fees upfront, sometimes it won't.


 3:43 am on Aug 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

How long is a piece of string? Or, more importantly for web designers, how much coffee is left in the jar? Do you want a life or do you want a monitor tan? Should you take the red pills or the blue ones? Be the enemy of mediocrity and don't cut corners. Hmmmm...


 3:56 am on Aug 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

How long is a piece of string?

I was more or less looking for ways to determine how to appraise various types of projects for length. Rather than estimates of project times.

Be the enemy of mediocrity and don't cut corners.


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