We’ve converted our project billing from hourly to fixed price. This happened well over a year ago and since then we’ve found that our client’s are happier because two things are known in advance:
A. The project definition – which for projects over a day is a written document outlining what will be done and who will do it.
B. The price – which is fixed for the services we’ve defined (see A above).
Infoworld has an article today titled 7 Dirty Consultant Tricks (and how to avoid them). Most of the key problems could be avoided if both parties took the time to outline a scope of services ahead of time.
Instead what we’ve often seen is that instead of defining the project in advance – one or both parties (either client or consultant) determines that they’ll “just bill hourly for whatever time is incurred”.
The conflict in this situation is that the client is assuming the time will be minimal and the project well defined. The (bad) consultant assumes the checkbook is wide open (hourly billing) to be assessed as the project grows and grows.
This is an interesting read — and a topic that we’ve found most consultants and client’s don’t “get” until they experience it.