Standard Consulting Practices
This document describes our standard client work
relationship but clearly does not fit all
circumstances. In this instance it serves as a
form of introduction to Data Strategies.
Therefore, all of the specific items below are
open for modification as your project and
business rules require.
Working with Data Strategies:
Rates: Data Strategies bills for analysis, design, application
development, and related activities on an hours-consumed basis.
Work is tracked and billed in increments of the quarter hour.
Please contact Data Strategies for questions
regarding rates and availability. Once work
begins for a client, meetings with the client are
considered billable activities. Should you expect
an activity to be free, we should establish this
prior to expending the time.
Data Strategies normally works on an
hours-consumed basis. This means that we provide
an estimate of the hours needed to complete the
work discussed. The client is kept informed of
the actual time consumed on a weekly basis and
can use this information to manage and adjust the
At the client's request, we may consider working
via a fixed bid. When we do prepare a fixed bid,
we estimate the work to be done and multiply this
time by our rate. Then we multiply this number by
our fixed-rate formula in order to cover the time
that will be needed to carefully document
deliverables, absorb changing specifications,
handle scheduled and unscheduled meetings and
phone calls, etc.. It will normally cost
significantly more for work done under a fixed
bid than under an hours consumed basis.
Invoices: Data Strategies normally invoices on a
bi-weekly basis. While such frequent invoices may
seem an annoyance, they also serve as
progress/status reports to help the client manage
their project. Software development costs can
grow at a frighteningly fast pace and many of our
clients have found that weekly invoices provide
an additional means of managing costs, monitoring
progress, and prioritizing features.
Invoices are due when received. Periodically we
provide a detailed log of work performed with
invoices. On other occasions we itemize actions
performed and the time expended for these
If ever there are any questions about an invoice
please notify us promptly so that we can work to
Estimates: Estimates represent a good faith
effort on our part to quantify the amount of work
required to accomplish tasks and their associated
sub-tasks. On occasion an estimate we provide
will differ from the actual work required.
Regardless of the estimate, we invoice only for
In cases where the work required to complete a
task exceeds the estimated time we will make
every effort to notify you as soon as we identify
this situation. At this point we will normally
cease work, and provide a revised estimate for
your approval. This affords you an opportunity to
approve the work or change the desired features
in order to manage the work within the original
estimate. In some circumstances we will - in good
faith - continue to work pending your approval.
These circumstances are most commonly found when
the total project work assigned or remaining is
less than 40 hours.
Some projects or parts of a project may be
open-ended - that is, we are not expected to
estimate pieces of work before performing them.
This frequently happens when working on an
existing project developed by another developer.
By carefully reviewing invoices when you receive
them, you can better manage costs and prioritize
your needs. This will help to ensure that you get
the most essential elements of your software
accomplished within your overall budget.
Quality: Sometimes a bug is just a feature that
has not been developed or considered. At other
times, it represents incomplete software - that
is, unfinished work. We make every effort to
deliver complete and bug free work but the
reality is that bugs are a part of custom
software. The fact is, if every feature and bug
were caught prior to delivery you would have paid
for the time invested to reach that level of
perfection. For this reason we ask that you do
not approach software issues as a
"gotcha". We encourage you to share in
the quality control/testing phase of any work we
deliver since - in many ways - this represents an
extension of your usability testing. When
problems are found, some will be fixed at our
expense while others will require additional
development work at your expense. The most
important thing is to work closely together and
Data Strategies provides you with the highest
quality standards and conventions. Every effort
is made to write generic and reusable processes.
This means that once a process is implemented,
other sections of your application can re-use
them. This saves you dollars since generic
processes do not have to be re-coded for each
subsystem that needs them. Data Strategies also
uses strict naming conventions with all database
objects and code. These conventions provide an
internal consistency and self-documentation that
should (if you later desire enhancements or
modifications) reduce the cost.
Ownership: The software Data Strategies provides
you is yours. You can modify this software
without further obligation to Data Strategies.
You may distribute as many copies as you like
within your own business. In cases where our work
is to be resold, arrangements must be made to
that effect, prior to the resale. We make no
other assertion of ownership beyond the
Your project contains techniques and specific
code derived from projects that we have
previously completed. By re-using such items,
Data Strategies is able to provide you the best
technology at the best cost. Data Strategies
retains the right to re-use any and all
techniques, code, and processes delivered for
your project in all current and future Data
Strategies development activities with other
Non-disclosure and Non-compete Clauses: We are
willing to consider any reasonable non-disclosure
or non-compete agreement in order to protect your
software investment and competitive position in
the marketplace. Should this be a concern of
yours we should address this promptly.
On/Off/Site Work: Data Strategies performs
software development work at the Data Strategies
office or at your location. We are able to work
on stand-alone projects or as part of your larger
development team. Working at the Data Strategies
office normally provides the advantage of working
on top line equipment and with Data Strategies
resources and tools readily available. This
usually yields greater productivity and a reduced
cost for your software. We do charge, at a
reduced rate, for travel, and we also charge for
any additional expenses incurred while working at
locations other than our offices.
Data Strategies will make extensive use of
electronic communications if available and has
accomplished numerous projects around the country
and overseas using email, the Internet, and
telephone conversations to perform management,
analysis, and software distribution activities.
We look forward to the opportunity of working
with you and your staff.