Limited time-based contract
This system combines the flexibility of a time-based software development with the security of a fixed rate contract.
- Drawing up the tender
- On the basis of a list of specifications that does not necessarily have to be exhaustive, we draw up a framework, as detailed as possible, delimiting the project that is to be developed.
We provide you with a detailed assessment of charges and prices in the form of a range of charges:
Target charge : this is the probable charge in relation to our understanding of the project. It serves as a basis for Agile monitoring of the project.
Maximum charge : the price associated with this charge is an upper limit to which we commit ourselves.
In the event of this charge being exceeded, the project will be completed without any additional billing. Of course, this will take place within the limits of the framework defined in the contract .
We can draw up a realistic limited time-based contract much more quickly than a contract based on a fixed rate.
- Monitoring the project by the Client
The monitoring process is identical to the one used in the traditional system of outsourcing programming management:Daily report on business activitiesWeekly 'Step' reportingOperational details and minimal changes are immediately incorporated in the original Step.
Requests for changes and modifications outside the existing framework are also incorporated as additional items and assessed in the week. As long as these requests do not impact on the Maximum charge, they are naturally taken into consideration within the project.
The capacity for change in the specifications, and the level of reactivity, are thus preserved.
- Agile project management with BelerStep
- BelerStep is our internal project monitoring software, which has been constantly developed and enriched for over ten years. It is a simplified implementation of Scrum that allows us to monitor the progress of a project on a daily basis and forecast the workload for each task.
BelerStep was designed to put the four principles of the Agile methods into daily practice:Projects should be built around individuals and interactions rather than processes and toolsProvide software that works rather than exhaustive documentationFocus on collaboration with the client rather than the contractual aspectsAdapt quickly to changes rather than follow a rigid schedule.Inspired by Scrum, BelerStep aims to accelerate project development by providing performance indicators that can be quickly and easily evaluated.
Some of the principles of Scrum:Development cycles of 2 - 6 weeks, "Sprints", ending in operational deliveries.Meticulous management of priorities in liaison with the client.A brief formal daily meeting within the development team, so that news of progress and difficulties may be distributed and make an impact.Rapid handling of requests for modifications plus ongoing integration of developments.The limited time-based management system is a contractual framework well suited to Scrum, since it preserves reactivity while promoting accurate daily reports.
- Why adopt the limited time-based management system?
In the traditional flat-rate system, a team of programmers will always have a tendency to concentrate on the technical objective of the contract, fixed at the start of the project. This leads to the avoidance of changes to specifications or environment (analytical method, tools, etc...) so as not to interfere with the original assessments. In the event of a problem, people think about making up for delays later, while new demands from the client have to take the form of codicils.
With an experienced and pragmatic project manager, this all-too-human behaviour will result in the minimal performance of the contractual functions. With an enthusiastic perfectionist as project manager, the result in 70% of cases is a more or less colossal budget overrun, an explosion in the schedule and a stiffening of the relationship with the client. In both cases, the flat-rate system leads to frustration on the part of either the client, or the supplier, or both.
On the other hand, in limited time-based management, the outsourced programming Romanian team and our client will tend to work together to incorporate within the budget the maximum amount of satisfaction as a basic requirement (the project's "vision"), while seeking efficiency through realistic adaptations to specifications and pragmatic choices of architecture.
The limited time-based projects are monitored through our WebStep reporting site, which makes it possible to visualise, in short-term cycles:the progress of the product effectively being developed in relation to the requirementthe rate of the growth in costs in relation to the budget
- A few clarifications
Do you skip parts of the documentation?
Scrum explicitly brings about periodic operational documentation, the project's backlogs. And our inclusive management contract includes time for editing: the drawing up of maintenance documentation, at the end of certain cycles, is indispensable for the transmission of software to the client's team.
Are the limited time-based management system and Agile development easy to adapt to the creation of software that is not clearly defined at the beginning, without any documented operational specifications?
We are sometimes confronted with this type of request: the client has a vague vision of the product to be created, essentially based on general concepts taken from competitors' software. Another fairly frequent case in recent times has been the request to "copy" a powerful e-commerce site or a successful mobile application. No approach on the part of the service provider can compensate for a lack of involvement or operational competence on the part of the client.
In this situation, we propose a prior operational study under a pure time-based contract.
Is 3-tier development compatible with Scrum?
At Beler, we have a lot of experience with 3-tier development, in Java, .Net and Visual C++, on projects involving a number of man-years, with the construction of major libraries in the MMI and data manipulation classes... In our opinion, this 3-tier development approach, which involves the designing of cumbersome architecture and special libraries before obtaining a visible result for users, is not compatible with an Agile development. It involves another strategic approach to software development, which may lead to good results in the long term, but is nothing like Agile. We would rather recommend a simplified design of architecture from the outset, or more exactly "incomplete", and the adoption of commercial libraries, even if it means enriching them when they are supplied with sources. In any case, the majority of current SDK, and in particular .Net, lead naturally to 3-tier architecture. In the majority of cases, the ergonomic highlights that will differentiate one site or software package from its competitors may be implemented using commercial tools on condition that these are well chosen. Our recommendation is to concentrate on the Business Layer and the "user-oriented" vision of the product rather than on the creation of a pseudo-SDK or yet another components library.
The idea, sold by numerous software companies, that these developments will go on to save lots of time thanks to the re-use of tools that are specifically oriented towards client functionality, is a misrepresentation.