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Are your projects completed on time?

If not, what problems cause you to miss deadlines? How can they be overcome? Do your clients understand them?

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Minimize and Negotiate

When developing software problems will arise, generally having protocols to deal with this situations helps minimize their effect. But, you should always have in mind that sometimes delays cant be avoided, there is where the Negotiation comes around. Talk to your client and let him know that you will be able to control this kind of situations. If you can make them part of the process, they will feel in control and more probably to overcome the problem faster.

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The scheduling problems I've encountered are:

  1. Receiving materials, information or feedback from the client.
  2. Failure to account for special risk factors.
  3. Optimistic estimation which misjudges the scope of work.

There are many other ways a schedule can go wrong, but these are the big ones. For mitigation, I recommend the following:

  1. Client education on timely participation with friendly nagging and automatic rescheduling should the client miss a deadline.
  2. Maintain a list of common risk factors, like "new technology" or "decision by committee". Learn to multiply estimates by 2, 3 or more for each factor.
  3. Create good functional and technical specifications and do a post-mortem on each project to evaluate the accuracy of estimates. After a few jobs, you can arrive at a plus/minus percentage that can help you adjust your bids.
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Only the ones with fixed requirements.

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