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Needless Complexity

Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
11 of 30

Understood.  I will not recommend a course of action to you again until it is requested.  I understand how to work with Snrs.

My only executive contact with this firm was writing for **edited for Community Guidelines**, the founder and then-CEO.  I had to promise to never, ever, ever list that on my profile as it would be both bad taste and a competitive advantage that is potentially overwhelming.

Over in the Coffee Break section, you will see some "tips of the week" I have written. I try to do one a week and I have three done so far.

One of them was recently reposted so you can find it close to the top of the threads. Or at least not on page 24, and I appreciate this reposting kindness from the moderators very much. (Thank you Valeria.)

I would love to discuss the postings with you and have you grade them.  Fortunately, you have the common sense not to tear into consultancy-class thought capital with katty remarks about an effort honestly made.  And perhaps you will join me in tip-of-the-week and let the EVP of IT (lol...) alone.  The firm is getting crushed in stock price (a penny a share recently) -- and you understand what that means in terms of spending money on IT.

I send my apologies for that pedantic suggestion. On the other hand, when the JSS first came out, I wrote a short paper on why it was goofing up. Offered to have a call with **edited for Community Guidelines**, their new VP of Trust and Safety.  He had his top systems-build director set up a conference call with me so they could gain some field opinions of what was not working.  Didn't cost anything, worked out great and when people from Booz or ex-CEOs speak, it is easy to figure out the smart people

They will be the one's listening. 

Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
12 of 30

As a note to the young consultants, and, for that matter, the old bears out here.  For those spending time on the platform making suggestions.  You now have another tactic.  Write up the suggestion, contact the contractor support group, provide it to them, ask them to forward it to IT.

And yes.  Not bragging - simply facts when facts are due.  When the JSS came out, something was obviously wrong with the math.  I came in at a ridiculous 67% JSS, with a string of 5-0s in tow.  Then just to make sure, I contacted each of my past 10 clients, and asked professionally if they would share the information on the private feedback they provided.  Which each consented to.

Something in the JSS math was not calculating correctly -- or it darn sure did not look like it.  So I contacted contractor support, offered this write up as a "case study" and did it without throwing a fit I was sitting there at 67% with a string of 5-0s and 10 perfect backend ratings.

I ended up having a conference call with the group lead of the JSS Big Math group, to cover the profile, the data I had collected, and a polite suggestion someone investigate it.  Not "for me" and not because this was about me.  Because this corporate EIT system perhaps had a bug and bugs that involve public ratings are... bad.

Two recalcs later, my JSS was above 90%. 

This is an example of how, when we think there is a problem, we research it, get ourselves positioned not to complain, but to try to add value to the organization, and detach emotions from the process.  Newcomers, you have massively experienced consultants hanging out on this board.  Add the project revenue of three of our top posters and myself - you are looking at more than $1million billed lifetime.

It is good to ask questions and listen very, very closely to the older bears who respond kindly, yet with clarity and force.  Their time is worth money and remember the rule.  One day, pass it on.

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
13 of 30

Everybody sees Upwork through the lense of their own experience. Upwork’s designers and programmers can’t take all of those experiences into account, though they could no doubt do a better job of it.


All of what I do is “intellectual,” but I am neither a security guard, receptionist nor cocktail server. There is no way I would consider using fixed price arrangements for a significant number of my new clients, who often initially know little about what they want me to do for them or exactly what the final product of my work should be.


Hourly projects are most appropriate in any situation where scope creep is likely. An experienced translator can likely see an English language document and know how much work is required to translate it to Swahili, so a fixed price works (for reasonable clients). But a product designer who gets incomplete or changing specifications for her work would likely be better served with an hourly arrangement (which also might limit the ever-changing demands of that certain type of client who has problems making final decisions).


The third option is to charge a client such a high fixed price that the cost of potential scope creep is built in, but I’d guess that in the highly-competitive, cost-conscious world of Upwork not many freelancers have the luxury of taking this approach.

Community Guru
Wendy C Member Since: Aug 24, 2015
14 of 30

Caveat: As a writer I can only speak for that category ... and not all sub-cats within it.


I work with both fixed and hourly contracts for a few reasons:

1. Client preference

2. Scope of work > includes research needed, brainstorming, marketing and branding segues, etc., etc.

3. Relationship / comfort zone between us.  Example:  I have a long-term client who can't stand the process of setting up new contracts on a regular basis; at their request (polite demand) we converted to hourly and everyone's happy.  


No, hourly won't work for everything and everyone all the time.  Neither will fixed.  It all depends on the job and the players,

Community Guru
Kim F Member Since: Aug 26, 2015
15 of 30

Will L wrote:

... Hourly projects are most appropriate in any situation where scope creep is likely ... The third option is to charge a client such a high fixed price that the cost of potential scope creep is built in

The simplest way of dealing with scope creep is to say "no".  The more profitable way is to say, "OK, that will cost you an additional $XXX." Despite rumours to the contrary, people tend to say things like "fine" and "thanks".


One reason I prefer fixed-price projects is that it's clear when they're going to come to an end, enabling me to schedule time in advance.  The scope creep thing isn't just about money. It's also about how you arrange your time and how you choose what you want to work on. 

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
16 of 30



If I expect scope creep in my projects, which I do for all but a few, I see no advantage in having to negotiate a new milestone with each instance of a client's increase in work required when an hourly arrangement takes care of the increase in my payment for services automatically.


And I don't want to say "no" to clients when they add new requirements to their projects. I'm here to provide services to clients who have certain goals. I'd guess that just saying "no" is not a brand-building or profit-maximizing approach for most freelancers on Upwork, but I'm certain it is not for me.


For me, additional time and effort spent in negotiations with a client for new milestones is a waste and unnecessary. I like to keep things simple and myself well-paid for the amount of my time each client actually requires for their project.

Community Guru
Kim F Member Since: Aug 26, 2015
17 of 30

The term "scope creep" is generally used pejoratively here, describing work additional to what you agreed but don't especially want to do.  But in any event, "no" is always a valid (and I still believe, the simplest) response. That obviously doesn't mean it has to be your response.


Saying "no" can indeed be a brand-building response if it means other commitments don't have to suffer because of an endlessly growing project. 

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
18 of 30

I don't think "scope creep" is a negative term and don't use it pejoratively unless the creep in the originally-described scope of a project is not matched with a similar creep in a client's payments to me.

Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
19 of 30

Like Bill, I really wish that the project type didn't default to "hourly" - I would prefer it if clients needed to actively choose one or the other. I feel like I'm at a disadvantage when I bid on hourly projects, because my hourly rate is quite high relative to other freelancers in my category. But I think that I'm much better value than most, because there's no messing around - I'm very quick and efficient and my projects don't require multiple rounds of revisions. Sometimes I try to put an explanation to this effect in my proposals, but I worry that I come off sounding arrogant. It's much easier to apply to fixed price projects because then my price is probably more in line with the other bidders. 


And of course, the other major disadvantage of preferring fixed price projects is that the "Hours worked" number in your portfolio looks unimpressive, and you may be overlooked by clients who set "minimum hours" filters. My profile no doubt looks weird to some clients - 339 jobs worked, 388 hours worked - doesn't that make it look like I've spent only about an hour on each job? (And that I've been charging $258 an hour?)


Community Guru
Mary W Member Since: Nov 10, 2014
20 of 30

I recently received a fixed-price invitation.  I got the client to convert it to hourly and it came out way below his fixed price offer.  Worked well for me as he has more work for me.  And I already crossed the $500 barrier.  I'm pleased, he's pleased, it's all good.  (And I learned a new-to-me legal software program).