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I have some questions regarding how to handle bidding for a project, and how to structure the contract for the project.

How can I find the answers to the following questions:

  • How many people (this includes programmers, designers, project managers, etc.) does this scope of a project usually involve?

  • What would be the ballpark cost for developing this kind of app?

  • If the cost is above 10-15k, what would be the correct amount of work to give the client, if the client only can afford a very small portion of the original cost?

  • This is hypothetical, but let's say all of what was explained was near completed yet the client hasn't provided an IP agreement or any sort of contract, yet demands the work be turned over within the next week. Payment has been made but at a "very small portion" of the original cost, does the client have grounds to take all the work?

How should I proceed in answering those questions so I can define the scope of this project?

  • Hi Bill. Welcome to PMSE. As it stands this question feels a bit localized (i.e. it won't have relevance beyond your own narrow requirements) and is also extremely broad. It sounds like you may be trying to resolve a business dispute here (though I may be wrong), which is fine but may not be a good fit for PMSE. – Willl Apr 12 '13 at 14:59
  • Hello! I'm just a student, but I put together a hypothetical with excessive tasks to get an estimate for any future endeavors I may face. I plan on doing some freelancing in the future and I just want to be sure of what I'm doing as I had an instructor tell us a story of a similar situation. – Bill Apr 12 '13 at 20:46
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    I think @DougB gave a great process-oriented answer to a non-process question, but the question is definitely NARQ, and probably NC and Too Localized as well. There's really no place to migrate this question, so I'd just close it and let Doug's answer stay here on PMSE where it belongs. – Todd A. Jacobs Apr 13 '13 at 15:30
  • Well, I really wanted to know just cost and the number of people required to work on this sort of a project. But those two hypotheticals came in mind when someone told me of a similar situation. DougB definitely gave a great answer, though it still didn't really answer the first few questions, however, I'll take his advice on contacting some vendors to figure the costs and such associated. – Bill Apr 14 '13 at 0:10
  • I made an edit at the very bottom of the post that should help this fit Doug's excellent answer. It's subtle. Doug focuses on process rather than hard, localized numbers. – jmort253 Apr 15 '13 at 18:43
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•How many people (this includes programmers, designers, project managers, etc.) does this scope of a project usually involve?

•What would be the ballpark cost for developing this kind of app?

Assuming that you are the customer for this App these are questions better asked by sending out a request for proposals to several vendors who can produce this kind of app. Your best bet is to do a proper job of documenting your requirements and pre-screening a number of different vendors to identify a short list of who to send the RFP to.

If you are asking the question from the perspective of someone who is bidding on an RFP to produce this kind of app and are trying to get a competitive advantage, my advice is to not care about what other companies do or charge, build your response around your business case and not the business case of others.

•If the cost is above 10-15k, what would be the correct amount of work to give the client, if the client only can afford a very small portion of the original cost?

If the client can't afford the whole package break it down into pieces that are self-contained enough to be independent of the whole. Figure out what you will charge for each line item. Whichever of those line items the client chooses to purchase is what they can afford and is the correct amount for you to deliver.

•This is hypothetical, but let's say all of what was explained was near completed yet the client hasn't provided an IP agreement or any sort of contract, yet demands the work be turned over within the next week. Payment has been made but at a "very small portion" of the original cost, does the client have grounds to take all the work?

The first thing to do is to document in your "lessons learned" file to NEVER start work without a contract in place. Then communicate this lesson to the rest of your company so that they don't make the same mistake. It is always best for everyone to have a contract in place, in particular spelling out terms of payments (what each service costs, when payment is due, etc) and deliverables (clear description of each, what acceptance criteria are, etc).

If $$ has exchanged hands you may have a legal obligation to deliver something, depending on what jurisdiction you are in as in some a non-written contract could be as binding as a written one. You will have to negotiate with them to figure out what is fair based on what they paid. Depending on how those go you will need to make a business decision on the business value of fighting for the rest of the $$.

  • Hi Doug, great answer! I had someone tell me a similar situation as the example I gave, and he mentioned the work he and his company did stated an original cost but the client declined the offer initially. He and his company started working on the project early before anything was negotiated to fit into the client's deadline but the client wanted to renegotiate to cut the costs down. – Bill Apr 12 '13 at 20:53
  • (continued)... Also, there was an agreement via email on what was to be completed and a few demo sessions with the client with all the features explained in my example, however, since the original cost was declined and later renegotiated he wanted the finished product to look like the demo showcased to him previously. Though, since a small portion of it was being paid he claimed all of what was shown at the demo was his property. – Bill Apr 12 '13 at 20:58
  • I'm just a student, but I put together a hypothetical with excessive tasks to get an estimate for any future endeavors I may face. I plan on doing some freelancing in the future and I just want to be sure of what I'm doing as I had an someone tell us a story of a similar situation. – Bill Apr 12 '13 at 20:58

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