One of the issues with starting a project is knowing how to expect how much time a project will take, because we charge on a subscription basis. But these basic ideas will hold up under other arrangements as well.
We have some simple rules of thumb:
- Most well designed websites take something like 3-4 weeks of part time work all together between design, development, and marketing.
- Big software projects generally require several months of full time work
- A thoughtful branding exploration takes about a month
- A decent marketing/advertising strategy takes a couple weeks part time to create, and then about 8 hours a month to evolve and manage.
Keep in mind: it’s very hard to predict how long projects will take. Taking on a project like a big website, branding, or software project involves a lot of communication and uncertainty. Every project has gotchas that change the timeline or needs of the project in one way or another.
In spite of the crazy amount of variation that can happen, at the macro level, the rules of thumb hold true.
Why Part Time Focus?
At first it may sound like having full-time focus on a project is good idea. Often this isn’t the case unless you know exactly what you want, a deadline demands it, or requirements are very clear.
Projects work best when there’s breathing room in the schedule.
It looks like putting in a few days of work, updating the client about where we’re at, advising on decisions that need to be made, and identifying challenges have arisen or have been resolved.
And then the magic happens in the in between time. All the people involved sporadically have good ideas that resolve problems or help the direction of the project. Those good ideas borne of passive reflection get squeezed out if there isn’t regular “off” time in the schedule to back up and evaluate.