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I need some help on appearing very professional on my first freelance project. How / What should you do to achieve this?

Background: I started as a full time web developer 18 months ago, two promotions later I am now a senior software engineer. I've never had any problems with designing / developing / coding a complicated system.

I thought I could use some help for Christmas and I started bidding for a project and now I have one - from a very reputable lawyers association in London. I have no problem dealing with the actual implementation of the system, but I have no idea how to appear professional throughout the whole process.

About the project: This lawyers association are starting a distant training courses and in addition to having a website to show off all their clients etc, they want a students area where their students would log in, download course materials allocated to them etc.. and an admin section where they assign courses to students / create new ones / upload materials etc..

Questions breakdown:

1) How should I start with the requirement gathering? Is using scrum a good idea, or should I use something like Volere Template - and what should I do with it? should I submit a copy to the client etc..

2) How often should I meet the client? Would once a fortnight would be good?

3) What are the processes / protocols that I need to follow so that they would be satisfied with me and think that I am very professional

4) How much should I charge for the product?

5) How should I get a quote / contract / receipt for the whole project?

6) What are the steps that professional freelancers go through, during the life cycle of a project?

My Research so far

Looking at How much should I charge doesn't help.. I live in London, zone 1, though I have no idea how much a project of this size would cost. Help on this would be appreciated.

How to be professional articles talks about the work / time management etc and not the actual process, what would real people do etc.. it's like academia theory, but not practical.

If this needs revising, please let me know, do not close it because of whatever reason, I will edit the question or details to fit the needs.

Thanks for reading a lengthy question.

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closed as not a real question by Tom Squires, Mark Trapp Nov 14 '11 at 19:18

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Too many questions, some are off topic here (especially #4 - the How much should I charge question you linked to is closed) –  Yannis Nov 14 '11 at 12:22
Welcome to programmers. Please have a read of the FAQ and repost a less open ended question and we will be happy to help. –  Tom Squires Nov 14 '11 at 12:31
@YannisRizos, thanks, will delete this question and add a new one "what procedures does a freelance follow, real life examples" or something like that. –  iamserious Nov 14 '11 at 14:27
Hi iamserious, you're asking a lot here, and a lot of it is just not on-topic here: dealing with clients outside the specific software development-centric questions are not on-topic here. You may be interested in an upcoming site proposal, Professional Matters, where these questions would be on-topic. –  user8 Nov 14 '11 at 19:21
@MarkTrapp, thanks, will delete this question. –  iamserious Nov 14 '11 at 19:53

1 Answer 1

You should be aware that your clients probably don't care as much about Scrum and other methods etc. like you do. In fact, they probably don't know the difference between UML, HTML and SCRUM - it's all technical jargon to them. Therefore, don't worry too much about those aspects.

To impress your clients, you should

  • learn (from publicy available sources) about the problem domain before you talk to them, so you understand what they talk about. Otherwise, you will have a hard time getting the requirements right.

  • take your time to meet with them as often as necessary; create and distribute minutes so everyone knows what has been discussed and decided

  • keep your promises (appointments, deadlines etc.)

  • create nicely formated and well worded documents about the project; something they can easily read and understand. Technical documentation is important, but a good user's guide and reference manual is even more important.

  • create software that looks good and works well

For getting requirements, a cycle of talks to the client and creation of clickable prototypes should do well.

How much should you charge? It depends. Maybe you should ask them how much they are willing to spend, then tell them how much they can get for that money.

How to get a contract for the whole project? Create a functional specification and agree on a price. This likely means you have to do some work up-front to create that functional specification.

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Hi, Thanks..... –  iamserious Nov 14 '11 at 13:45

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