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Help setting milestones


Hi, as a newby (normal person not a business with a big idea and no IT skills) and recently ripped off by a freelancer (lesson learned) I am now engaging with a new mobile app developer and now need to set some milestones that a fair and equitable to both of us.


We are looking at a website and app that works together. Due to budget constraints we are only going with an IOS app at this stage with the view for further development later when money rolls in!!!


Can someone please advise and help me with what could be potential milestones. I first proposed:


1. Website (UI design) (coding checked by Upwork team) 2. App functionality Development (coding checked and approved by Upwork Team) 3. Beta version 1st build release 4. UAT and SQA completed 5. Publishing on the app store.


But a developer pointed out to me that the majority of the work was in the first 2 milestones so this was not a fair way of funding.


What are some suggested milestones I can propose? 

Community Guru

@Cath K wrote:

What are some suggested milestones I can propose? 

It makes no sense for people who are external to the project to propose milestones for you.  If you didn't hire a developer experienced enough to determine what they should be, and you don't know how to figure out what they should be yourself, you probably need to hire a project manager who can oversee all the work that needs to be done.  I even question whether it should have been hired as a fixed price project if you hadn't done sufficient planning for these issues.


That said . . .


In general, I recommend milestone be set up for functional goals rather than arbitrary management goals.  For example, if your platform requires (broadly) user accounts, data collection features, and data analysis/reporting features, then each of those would be its own milestone.  Or possibly even finer-grained tasks, depending on the complexity of the work being done.  The idea is that you want to give the developer a large enough chunk so that you can validate their skills, but not so large a chunk that you end up getting completely ripped off again.


But, again, only an experienced developer or a project manager will be able to tell you exactly what is going to work best for your particular project.  Best of luck this time around.


Thanks Darrin,


It is really hard to engage with a freelancer as a complete newbie.


As previously stated I am just a normal person with a big idea and I guess as I am taking a huge risk investing in something that may flop and since I have already lost close to $1000NZD to a fake developer I am just so apprehensive about the whole process. I may have to either park my big idea or re think my whole strategy.


I guess I was looking for a developer who could assist me from whoah to go and as the app made money I could reinvest with the freelancer. Which I know is a huge risk to someone taking the job but I am happy to just wait it out to see if the right person comes along.


I thought I had set some pretty good milestones and the freelancer I am in discussions with at present stated they preferred 4 milestones and as the ones I proposed had the majority of the work completed in the first 2 milestones I guess they felt at risk for me not holding up my end of the bargain hence why I am putting this question out there as to what some milestones could/should be.


Really appreciate your insight so thanks for that. 

I'm a VERY experienced programmer. I can and often do serve as my own project manager.


BUT, I believe that any project I'm involved in which uses an actual, distinct individual as a project manager goes more smoothly.


Even if the main thing the project manager does is just to ask me how my work is going on a regular basis, that can help the project. Maybe that makes the difference between me turning in work this week instead of next week.


In NO WAY does the use of a project manager necessarily mean that you don't have good developers/contractors.


But if you DON'T have a project manager, and you yourself can not function as a project manager, then you are taking a big risk and you can run into trouble if you don't have high-quality, highly-responsible developers.

@Cath K wrote:

It is really hard to engage with a freelancer as a complete newbie.


Well, in many ways Upwork makes it too easy to engage freelancers.  And it's an especially bad combo when both the client and freelancer are in newbie territory.  That's why you really need to get other people on your side.  If not a hired project manager here, then at least friends or family that you can trust to help you plan out the initial stages of your effort.


Because there is zero risk in rushing head-long into the thick of things with little more than a good idea; you are bound to fail.  You already know that from your initial experience.  I certainly hope things might be going better the second time around, but there are certainly more red flags in your short description than I would be comfortable with.