The Dojo4 Playbook

A work in progress...

dojo4 on GitHub

Be sure to also see how to estimate a project.

Based on original by Ara Howard @drawohara:

How To Sell A Project

Sales require time, but be sure that you’re not spending so much time on the sale as to make the project fee obsolete. General rule of thumb: almost always, selling a project for $10-15K makes Dojo4 nil.

That said, sales are a necessary evil in our business, so here’s a quick summary of what it usually looks like, and what you should do.

Bottom Line: document everything in Redmine

There will inevitably be a ton of back and forth with the prospective client: we need an exact record of what was discussed in the sale process. This information both enables us to create an accurate contract/Scope of Work (SOW) and also fleshes out the details that will be consolidated in the SOW for later reference, if need be.

How It Often Unfolds

  1. Client: inquires.
  2. You: respond. The goal here is either to send them politely on their way, or to make sure you understand the problem.

Most clients come to us with a solution. “Can you build us an X?” The answer is always yes, but the question you should be asking is, “Does that actually solve your problem?”

Once you understand the problem, do your research and build an estimate. See how to estimate a project.

Here it bears repeating: document everything in Redmine in Note: /sales is private to dojo4. We can always move it into a public ticket in their project if we make the sale and want to share the info therein with them.

The key thing is that the discussion with client is captured EXACTLY as it happens. If you have phone or in person meetings, emails, etc. capture them in Redmine. You’d be surprised how often clients ask ‘why did you do X’ and you can say ‘because you asked me to 67 days ago at 4:21, and here is the code that did it’. This is what we loose when we blow shit out into google docs and other systems.

If invoices are disputed later, it’s key that every thing is tracked precisely and linearly. Notice that the Redmine tickets include any assets the clients gave us, pdfs, psds, etc.

  1. Once the deal has been closed with a handshake, we will use the sales ticket in Redmine to create a contract and Scope of Work (SOW).
  2. Project isn’t really sold until that’s signed.

Note: once a project starts…

We link all tickets back to the estimate such that developers have CONTEXT of the entire chain while working.

So, include 100% of the back and forth to nail down a price and scope of work (we use the sales ticket to create the SOW), every task that was done on the estimate with precise times, who did it, time tracked, and urls for each and every damn thing without adding accounts or searching.

Also note that, because Redmine integrates with github, we even can link to specific commits in Redmine done to make the project.

Be Proactive

Be sure to relate to this as a proactive, not reactive, process so that it best supports the prospective client’s best interest. That means looking combing through what they are proposing for what needs or should be done, that we can excellently do, that the client isn’t aware of. Sales at Dojo4 are normally just exchanging ‘we can do’ for ‘you need to do’ in the context of a running project. For Dojo4 sales this should should always represent acting in the client’s best interest to see in advance, what your personal professional capacity allows you to see

To Summarize