Whisper & Company

Our Engagement Models Explained

Emanuele Faja

At Whisper & Company, we understand that every client and project is different, and that different approaches are required. That's why we offer different engagement models based on what is best suited for the client, and can achieve our objective of offering the best possible digital services and the best price possible for the client.

We have four different types of engagement models for projects, and each model has advantages and disadvantages.

Different models can be used for different parts of the same project, and that's often our preferred way of working.

So continue reading to explore our models and discover what is the best approach for your project.


Time and Expenses Model

We charge according to the actual man-hours used and actual expenses incurred, if any. The scope of the project is normally adjusted along the way, as this is a very flexible way of working and there is no requirement to have a strict functional specification.

Whisper & Company will estimate the required effort before the project starts, and then bill for the actual time spent on the project. The scope of the project can be adjusted throughout the course project to ensure that we stay within budget and deliver on time.

This model requires a downpayment at the beginning of the project (usually a percentage of estimate cost) and then you will be billed for actual consumption at regular intervals throughout the project.

The advantages of this model are that you pay for only exactly what you need, and that it can be used on projects where the scope is not fully transparent.


Fixed Cost Model

If you are able to provide detailed specifications for what you need created, then we can quote a fixed price for your project. The specifications for the project must remain fixed throughout the project, but we do have a mechanism in place to exchange features on a like-for-like basis, as long as the overall scope of the projects doesn't increase.

This is how every client would like to be billed as it reduces risk, but on the other than it does require a lot of work on the client-side before the project starts, to make sure that there is a clear and detailed functional specification for the project.

In this model, the risk for budget overruns lies with Whisper & Company, rather than the client. Payments are made as pre-agreed milestones in the project are reached.


Support Package Model

This is generally for clients that have pre-existing systems, or have completed their main project, and need additional small ad hoc tasks. Without a support package, each task would need it's own invoice, payment, and contract, which would not make the work economically feasible because the administrative burden required.

Whisper & Company normally suggest that a completed project switches to this model so that we can always be available at a moment's notice to step in and continue working as and when required.

This may include continuous system upkeep, responding to monitoring system alerts, security patching, and general question and answer sessions. This model can also be used for part time resources, for selected services.

The advantage of this model is that you can have a clear fixed cost each month, and you can scale the team to your needs over time. This can be very cost effective for larger projects with longer time spans.


Dedicated Resources Model

This model is best suited for companies that rely heavily on technology to accomplish their business objectives. You can remove the hassle of having to recruit and train your own staff, and deal with already proven professionals that are always available

Whisper & Company can provide you with dedicated team leads, developers, and testers, cloud engineers, etc, that work exclusively with you.

Dedicated resources are only available on long term contracts of six months or longer, and the fee is split up into fixed monthly payments.


Mixing Models

Often we have clients who may want a payment system, an eCommerce website, or some other type of system, but they only have a very high level overview of the requirements. This makes it almost impossible for us as a supplier to give an accurate and realistic estimate of the work involved, and the associated costs and time requirements.

However, while we might not know how much effort is required to build a system that has not been described in detail, we're pretty damn good at estimating how much effort it might take to write a functional specification (a set of documents and designs that describe, in detail, what a system is meant to do from a user perspective) to describe the system.

So our approach to these type of projects is to treat it like a construction project. The architectural drawings first, and then once that is finished we can estimate the construction costs and start building.

So the project would probably look something like this:

  1. The creation of a functional specification that describes the system, on a fixed price model.
  2. Software development with either fixed cost if everything about the project is known, or with time and expenses or dedicated resources if there are still knowledge gaps (this is often the case with startups whose product offering can rapidly change and the project scope is expected to be fluid).
  3. Training and go live support on a support contract for a certain amount of hours.
  4. Continuous development, monitoring, and improvements on either a support contract or with dedicated resources

This is a transparent approach to building a system, and allows the client to control risk and costs to suit their needs.


Our Model for Brand Creation

Because we've done so much brand development work, we're generally very confident in giving a fixed price quote and taking the risk for any cost overruns, as the actual amount of work for most brand and design work tends to run into the same range of time and effort on our side, and unlike software and system development, there is little chance that a project could over run significantly as the scope is very clear.


Conclusion

So there you have it, the different models that we can use to tackle your project. The main point to take away is that whichever model you choose to use, it must make sense for your business model, the clarity of the project, your aversion to risk, and, of course, your budget.

At Whisper and Company we're always happy to suggest the best model, or combination of models, that we think will help make your project a resounding success.


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