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What is needed after site development?

Active Member
Dorothy G Member Since: Nov 20, 2015
1 of 13

Hired a firm to develop a site, and it's about to be posted to a host. Do I need to keep someone on retainer to keep it "healthy"?

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
2 of 13

You'll probably need to pay for maintenance. Ensure that you get the source code because it's yours. Beware of freelancers who try to tie you into using them for maintenance by keeping the source code or not giving you full access to everything you purchased. 

 

There will be bugs most likely, so you'll need someone to clean up. If you're happy with the work, you might need the freelancer to add on to the existing site too. It depends on what you purchased.

 

You can either set up an hourly contract where you limit the hours to what everyone agrees is necessary to keep the site running or you can escrow the retainer and the freelancer requests payment as the hours are used.

Active Member
Dorothy G Member Since: Nov 20, 2015
3 of 13

Thank you, Jennifer. 

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
4 of 13

One of the reasons I don't want to touch software development on here is because clients have no idea what they need and yet devs are asked to estimate time. In the real world, the project is fully defined and a time estimate given and usually a percentage of time is added to account for issues.  Even then, software projects are like construction... deadlines just whiz right by. lol

 

There was a PDF posted here that got removed that indicated the highest number of failed projects are in the software development section. I'm not surprised. Either the client is clueless and gets taken for a ride by a cheap dev or the dev is clueless and ties himself to an unreasonable time frame.

 

Unless you know what is needed, I don't think clients should be managing software projects. I think they need someone to manage the project. But people think they'll come here and pay someone $3/hour for an app and then they'll be rich. Yeah, no.

Active Member
Dorothy G Member Since: Nov 20, 2015
5 of 13

What? This is not relevant. 

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
6 of 13

@Dorothy G wrote:

What? This is not relevant. 


Yes it is. You said you hired a firm and you weren't happy.  You now don't have a clue what to do with your end product. You need someone to manage the project or you run the risk of being taken for a ride.

Community Guru
Daniel C Member Since: Nov 21, 2010
7 of 13

"One of the reasons I don't want to touch software development on here is because clients have no idea what they need and yet devs are asked to estimate time. In the real world, the project is fully defined and a time estimate given and usually a percentage of time is added to account for issues.  Even then, software projects are like construction... deadlines just whiz right by. lol"

 

Most clients don't have a clue and it costs developers.  They give you a scope, you complete the scope, and then they add a bunch more work and tell you that it's part of the scope somehow.

 

An example...  I was hired to build a Wordpress calculator because the last developers did a horrible job.  I built the calculator then they said that the report needed to be PDF and emailed.  So I create the design for the PDF, add all the merge fields, and add the code for a PDF report. 

 

Then I find out the report has a chart in it.  I added the code and designed a chart to fit in the PDF.  The images don't load in the PDF because they added a password to the dev hosting. 

 

So I finish that and they tell me that the design is not responsive.  It had some complicated CSS to make it responsive. 

 

In the end, the project took 4 or 5 times the number of hours that I estimated on a fixed price.  Their old developers did such a bad job that it caused delays and problems in my development.  I had to go through and change the old developer’s code and clean a bunch of other code up to make it happen. 

 

I'm expecting a bad review from this client because I'm way behind, even though I was hired to develop a calculator plugin, I was expected to know about things that were never discussed.  But how can I argue that a "report" needs to be specified as PDF and that it included a chart. 

 

In reality, they should have created better scope requirements.  I can't assume that they will want these other things unless they tell me about it.  We agreed on a scope but their expectations were not aligned with what they were asking for.  This happens a lot and developers just suck it up and take it as a loss.  A developer can only make so many assumptions and really it isn't our job to scope out their project for free just so that we can give them an estimate.  I've had many clients try to get free consulting and work then hires someone else in the end.

 

If you want to hire someone, and you don't know what you're doing, then Upwork is not really a good place.  Hire someone for project planning and scope definitions.  Freelancers (especially developers) are expected to do too much just to give an accurate bid and end up taking a loss each time the client makes a mistake.

Community Guru
Darrin O Member Since: Jan 20, 2015
8 of 13

@Dorothy G wrote:

Hired a firm to develop a site, and it's about to be posted to a host. Do I need to keep someone on retainer to keep it "healthy"?


You don't "need" to do anything, but I would question why anyone would even begin a software project without a plan for maintenance and updates.  This is especially true of web technologies, which are public-facing and some are much more vulnerable to hackers than others.

 

Exactly what you should do can only be determined by someone who fully understands the systems you have put in place.  If you didn't hire a technology professional to develop your site, consider hiring one to do this sort of planning in the future.  That person will be able to tell you how to proceed properly.

 

Active Member
Dorothy G Member Since: Nov 20, 2015
9 of 13

I hired a "technology professional" firm (brick & mortar, Google alliance). They disappointed me in the areas of cost, schedule, and performance. Now I want to choose again more wisely. In what format will the end product be turned over to me. As far as I know, they will post it to a hosting site. What format would an archive copy be in, for me to safeguard?  

Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
10 of 13

Don't mean to highjack the thread, but I'd like to comment on this observation by Jennifer:

 

There was a PDF posted here that got removed that indicated the highest number of failed projects are in the software development section. I'm not surprised. Either the client is clueless and gets taken for a ride by a cheap dev or the dev is clueless and ties himself to an unreasonable time frame.

 

Wish I'd seen that PDF. Regardless, I think any generalization like that should be taken with a grain of salt. For example, I would expect failed projects when clients have unrealistically low budgets or hire freelancers with well below average hourly rates. But as a developer, I don't apply for such projects, so the quoted statistic doesn't apply to me.

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