Why We No Longer Use Time and Materials

Metova was built on the idea of transparency. We measured our developer’s time to show our customers exactly where their money was going. We expected them to love the detail and clarity we offered. Using the time and materials format, clients would only be billed for time actually worked. This would build trust, an important ingredient in a good relationship.

 

We Know What You Want

Throughout the time and materials process, immense amounts of time and energy were expended to estimate the time a project needed. When proposals were created, hours upon hours were spent pouring over wireframes, feature sets, and documents. User stories were made for each piece of functionality and each story was carefully estimated by one developer then reviewed by a second. “Look at the detail in which we understand your application,” our proposals would gloat. “We know exactly what your application needs and even how long it will take to create!”

 

Precision Is Not Accuracy

Our carefully planned proposals and estimates almost always fell short. Although the numbers were exact and gave customers a feeling of safety, it was impossible to make them accurate. No project that we completed was the same as the one we estimated at the start. Scope changes, false assumptions, misunderstandings and miscommunications all played into, more likely than not, a larger project than originally estimated. Customers were misled by our estimations, thinking that such precision surely indicated a high level of accuracy. Developers felt as if they had done poor work to leave customers so dissatisfied.

 

Change Requests

Once development began, if adjustments to scope were needed, the client was given very specific time estimates so that they would know exactly how much they are spending and why. This gave them the control and sense of confidence we thought they craved.

However, some clients found the need to approve every little change tiresome and not valuable. Many weren’t even looking at the details and would just approve everything in one swipe. Just because they were given the tools and knowledge at the time of each change didn’t stop debates over costs and feature sets from happening when the work was done. All of the detailed plans and numbers in the world didn’t make customers truly happy.

 

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Why Did We Bother?

Why do we estimate the stories? So that our customers will have a good feeling of how much the individual features, and therefore the entire app will cost.

Wait one minute, didn’t we mention earlier that almost all applications end up costing more than originally scoped? Giving this false sense of comfort at the beginning of the project only hurts us. So how do we accurately portray how much an application will cost in the long run?

 

Fixed Price

We tried fixed price where all functionality is predetermined and not expected to change as the project moves forward. We guaranteed that our customer would get an application with x, y, and z functionality for a particular price. A higher risk buffer was added to account for Murphy’s Law. No matter how much detail and forethought we put into the proposals, every fixed price project had requests for changes in scope, voiding the original “fixed” price.

 

Risk Buffers

We thought of increasing our risk buffer but the amount would be arbitrary and would not take into account changes throughout the project or guarantee a price. Business plans, individual opinions and preferences, and the market are always changing. Let’s be honest; the future cannot be predicted accurately. Period. So we threw away the crystal ball and thought outside of the box.

 

Giving Customers Our All

What are customers really looking for when they come to us? An experienced shop to guide them through the development process, offer insight, and build an application that meets their needs. Now instead of basing our costs on individual features that are likely to change or for the time associated with a feature, we only offer ourselves. Sign us for any length of time and get whatever services you need most, when you need them. Our strategy and design team will consult with you on your business, creating goals and documentation that will impress your funders. The development team will create an application to meet your goals and support your business. Metova offers a complete experience in mobile development.

Are you ready to bring your mobile efforts into focus? Talk to us today to get started.

Author avatar
Jennifer Pike
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