What Happens When The Agile Culture Becomes a Trend?
“We want these deliverables, in this many hours. Can you give us a time and materials estimate?”
Have you ever heard something like that from your clients? In my time as a project manager, I have been asked several times by different clients to deliver something within a pre-determined amount of hours, before estimating the time and materials it will require. If the deliverables cannot be developed in the amount of time requested, a difficult negotiation must begin: “Why do you need it within that time frame? What if we avoid the tests? Is that analysis really necessary?”
If you work for a system integrator, you know what I’m talking about. In the past, a time and material contract simply meant that billing was determined based on time and materials. Essentially, one company would buy expertise from another company, which would be measured in terms of labor-hours billed at regular intervals. Sometimes, a more flexible type of time and materials contract was agreed on, wherein clients could request changes, which would subsequently be estimated by the contractor. If the client approved of those estimates, the contractor would begin work. Because this was mutually accepted as a rough approximation, moderate deviation from the original forecast was considered acceptable. This model lasted for years, and in some cases replaced more traditional time and materials contracts.
Endless Martinenghi, PM Autoware