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Fixed price risks

It seems reassuring doesn't it? You've worked hard producing a specification document describing exactly what you want for your next web project, you've carefully selected a few web development companies and you have proposals with promises to deliver your specification on time and to budget. All you need to do now is choose the best company on quality and price.

But there are some big risks ahead:

  • how do you know that your specification is right?
  • how do you know whether the web developer will provide the right solution to each feature?
  • what will you do if your priorities change during the project?
  • what happens to the fixed price when you discover you need features you didn't include in your spec, or you want to change part of the solution? (Answer: suddenly it isn't so 'fixed'!)

An approach that claims to give you a fixed price for a fixed scope makes the big assumption that you can know everything about a web development project before you start it. But we know this cannot be true, no plan ever survives the first few weeks of a project, and therefore the measure of a successful approach is how well it adapts to reality, as we discover it on the project, and how much burden is placed on accommodating changes.

What's the alternative?

Imagine a way of development that:

  • delivers working features to your customers within the first few weeks of the project
  • regularly accommodates refinements and improvement based on feedback
  • expects change and places no burden on an evolving feature set?

That alternative is agile web development. By taking an Agile approach you really can fix your price if you want to, as you can decide the size of the team and the amount of time they spend working on your project. A team of the best people using an agile approach will develop the best solution possible for the budget you have.

Read more on Fixed Price vs Agile Development here.