Pehea e koho ai i kāu papahana pūnaewele hou

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Āhea ana e hana ʻia ai e?

ʻO kēia ka nīnau haʻalulu iaʻu 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.

ʻEhā mau kuhi hewa e puhi i kāu koho aʻe:

  1. Mistake Mua: Heluhelu i ka lōʻihi o kāu hana ʻana ka mea a ka mea noi i noi ai. Hewa. Ua hana hewa mua ʻoe a ua koho wale i ka mea a ka mea noi i noi ai, ʻaʻole ka makemake maoli ka mea kūʻai aku. ʻOkoʻa mau nā ʻelua a makemake mau ka mea kūʻai aku i ʻelua mau manawa no ka hapalua o ke kumukūʻai.
  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, ʻAʻole hiki iaʻu ke hana i kekahi lā. 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 hana hewa a me ka hoʻāʻo ʻana. 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 ma lalo o ke kaomi mai kahi mea kūʻai aku. Inā pili ʻoe i kāu manaolana mua, hana paha ʻoe iā lākou!

I kēia mau lā, ua hoʻomaka mākou i kahi kuʻikahi me kahi ʻoihana kahi a mākou i ʻae ai i ka uku hoʻihoʻi no kahi papahana a laila ka hoʻomau ʻana o ka helu mahina no ka hoʻomaikaʻi hou a me ka mālama ʻana. Noho mākou i lalo a kūkā nā pahuhopu 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 pono e hoʻolimalima i kā lākou kumuwaiwai i ka hola ... ke komo nei i kahi koho papahana hoʻokumu ʻia me lākou he mea pepehi.

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 Hoʻomaʻamaʻa kūʻai 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!

Pehea e kui ai i kahi kuhi:

  1. E noʻonoʻo pono ke manaʻo ka mea kūʻai aku. 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. E noʻonoʻo pono 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. Kuhi i ka aha ʻo ka pahuhopu o ka papahana. 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. Hana hope i hope mai kou pae o ka maikaʻi. 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 ʻoi aku ka waiwai ma mua o kā lākou uku ʻana. 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 kekahi o lakou mau hana. 🙂

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.

Ua ʻakaʻaka wau, a neʻe akula i kaʻu mea kūʻai aku hauʻoli hou aʻe, kūleʻa hou, a me ka loaʻa kālā hou aʻe.

3 Comments

  1. 1

    ʻLelo maikaʻi ʻo Doug. Ke hakakā nei nō wau me kēia. Ke nīnau ʻia wau ke hiki iaʻu ke hoʻopau i kahi pūnaewele, ua aʻo wau e pane, "pili ia i ka pane ʻana o kāu pane i nā mea āpau aʻu e noi ai."

  2. 2

    Mahalo wau i kou kūleʻa, Doug. E hoʻohui wau i kahi hana maikaʻi ʻē aʻe - e hoʻomau i ka ʻike ʻana o kāu mea kūʻai aku. Kuhi kēia mau mea āpau i kahi pae o ka hilinaʻi.

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