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Project Management for Freelancers Round 2: Contracts and Estimation by Crystal Williams at BADcamp2010

Crystal Williams

MSA, Master Services Agreement is like an object-oriented contract

Terms & Termination
Payment Terms
Ownership of Intellectual Property
Warranties & Disclaimers
Employee Solicitation & Hiring Restrictions
Responsibilities of the Client


Scope of Work
Proposed Schedule
Pricing & Payment Schedule
Notes & Assumptions (nice little

Make sure you receive a fully executed copy of all contracts before proceeding.

(I'm nowhere near as cynical as i'm coming off in this talk. But anything can go wrong.)

Time & Materials vs. Fixed Bid

As a small shop or independent contractor, expect to

Agile projects are difficult to sell. It requires the client to sign off on not knowing what they are getting at the end. Requires a tremendous amount of trust on the part of the vendor and client.

Trying to run an agile project on short, a month, doesn't work. If you're only going to do two sprints, might as well do it waterfull.

A client who doesn't know what they want - who has not planned - is not a case for agile.

Nothing fails worse than half-agile. "We didn't plan up front but we still need to deliver these exact features."

Scope of work for an agile project lay out the aims for the project, lay out the resources, put in the number of sprints, but the scope of work is really just person-hours.

Can specify late fee or interest. Doesn't mean you'll get it.

Use something like Blinksale or Freshbooks

Holding the Client Accountable

They owe you a lot

Contracts should include:
Statement of schedule & project complete date being dependent on assets, deliverables, and timely responses from client
Defined single-point-of-contact

If you are going to mention client on website or marketing materials, define in contract.

Define order of process. Will you do out-of-cope work at a lower hourly rate? timescale of this?

Review work with client and obtain written signoff at regular intervals

review the Jurisdiction of the Contract, keep it in-state if you can


Google (paid) (paid) and
Lee Vodra's Estimation talk
Jakob Persson's DrupalCon Copenhagen talk

Audience suggestions:
"Business in a Box"

Hurts the entire industry if people can expect [estimation] for free

This can be all quite lightweight.

We underestimate almost all technical projects.
- risk in general
- data import
- server problems

I have threatened stop-work. It's last resort.

it's very difficult to recover a relationship after stop work. Likely you have to be thinking of ending and getting out entirely.

The hit-by-a-bus plan. Knowing what was promised.


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