Please provide a quote to build my portal. I want, banner
ads, e-commerce and by the way, when can you get it done
and how much will it cost? One more thing, take a look at
www.amazon.com and model it after that."
This is only a slight exaggeration. We receive many emails
from individuals and companies similar to the above. If
you are someone who wants the services of seedot.com then
this page we will explain how to get from the first email
( like the one above) to the finished product.
We hope the lessons we have learned from our experiences
will make the development of your site easier and better,
and at the same time, accelerate the development for the
seedot.com team here i Sofia, Bulgaria.
Because we are in Bulgaria and our projects are mostly
from the USA, we have developed some expertise in dealing
with people on the other side of the globe while using email
only. We know we must become process centric to produce
quality results for our customers.
Some of what we have learned is explained in the 10
step process that is outlined below. But this is just
the tip of the iceberg. Our process run throughout our company.
1. We receive your email request for an estimate.
We will usually return the email and ask a few questions
or we will ask you to complete:
Client Questionnaire Form
- For those who are very serious about the services of seedot.com
To give you a rough estimate we need enough information
to make a guess about the number of hours of work and the
completion date. The above mentioned two forms have been
created to gather two levels of information.
2. Agree on Terms and Conditions
Once both of us agree on the cost to complete your
project we must then make sure we are both clear about what
is expected. We usually emphasize at this point that our
work is done by the hour. We provide an estimate only to
give a rough idea of the cost.
We work by the hour because of the changing nature of web
development. We have discovered that so many changes and
additions take place during the course of development that
it is too difficult to estimate accurately. We cannot give
an accurate bid.
Working on an hourly basis provides the client freedom
to make changes while the project is underway.
3. Project Report
If it is a complex site you may want a more accurate
estimation. If this is the case we can prepare a report
that will take from 10- 30 hours to prepare. We require
payment in advance for this report. Once you have this report
you can take it to other web development companies if you
Our estimate will provide the approximate number of hours
to complete the job. We calculate by the hour and bill by
the hour. This is IMPORTANT. We only provide the estimate
of the number of hours so that you can approximate the cost.
We bill only by the hour because we have discovered that
the project evolves and changes. The client always wants
to change colors, ad functions, add content, add products
etc as the project is being developed.
4. Client Review Estimate and Evaluates
After we return the estimate of the number of hours
involved in the project the client usually wants to make
sure seedot.com is a good company. They can take a look
at our portfolio section.
Once both parties agree on the terms of the deal a
document can be prepared to clarify exactly what is to be
done. seedot.com prepares an email with instructions on
where to wire or send the money.
Some clients may employ seedot with very little needs for
estimates or documentation, others may wise the opposite.
Either way is acceptable. But it does help us to get the
job done if we have good information and communication.
6. Requirements are Analyzed
Once a client decides to have a website developed by
seedot.com and wires or mails at least half of the payment
upfront, the development process begins.
The client must make their best efforts to communicate
his/ her requirements clearly. Since seedot.com bills at
an hourly rate, this effort now will save time and money
Our in-house Development Process
PHASE I - Define
In this phase, the objective is to understand clearly the
voice of the prospective customer. When doing business on
the Internet, we realize the importance of being clearly
understood, to provide the best solutions to our customers.
Typically we start of when we get an email enquiry or a
Quick Quote (on our internal sites)
from a prospective client.
The request is examined. To understand the requirements
better, some questions are emailed back to the prospective
client, or the client is advised to fill in the Client Questionnaire
on our site.
The clarifications are given. The client questionnaire
is duly filled and forwarded.
The request is now re-examined for any further details
required at this stage. If not, then a rough estimate of
the time and costs involved in the project is made. In case
of large web applications and database driven websites,
a proposal for doing a detailed analysis for a fee of $2000
is emailed to the client. The deliverables here are the
- Requirements Document
- Level 1 Work Breakdown Structure and Project Schedule
- Payment schedule
- Draft of the contract of Agreement.
The client seeks clarifications (if any) on the terms and
conditions and approves the documents and the contract of
agreement. After this, the client gives a go-ahead for the
The amount to be advanced and the mode of payment is specified
Confirmation on the payment is intimated to seedot.
seedot confirms initial payment.
PHASE II - Design and Develop
Methodology - The evolving iterative approach.
We use the evolving iterative approach to web development.
In this methodology, once the preliminary requirements are
clarified, the next step is to quickly build the prototype
of the website/web application. From then on, it is the
continuing evolutions of this prototype until it become
the final product, exact to specifications.
Visibility - The key Advantage.
This is a revolutionary, new approach to software development
and extremely suited to offshore development and outsourced
services. When you outsource your requirement of web solutions
to us, we are sensitive to the fact that you require high
visibility of the WIP (work in progress). This is the reason
why we have adapted this methodology to our web development
process. At each stage along the development, the website/web
application evolves before your own eyes. Here are the broad
milestones in this process:
Prototype: The first and crucial phase. The prototype
shows you the shape of things to come. This is much more
than just a visual representation. It represents all the
screen elements in the final solution. This is the mould
into which we start to breathe the breath of life! Feedback
from the client is taken and required modifications are
Functional Specifications Document: Before starting
to actually develop the functionalities, we document all
the functional specifications. The client reviews it and
gives feedback again and with this, the requirements specifications
are fully captured.
The Proof of concept: The prototype evolves to its
more complex level of existence. Many parts of the prototype
spring to life. We have this intermediate delivery before
the final delivery to establish the proof of concept. The
client can now almost feel the solution that he/she had
entrusted us to develop. What remains now is just formality.
Our production engine hauls the project to completion.
Final Delivery: The final product is delivered after
testing. There are no surprises, and no tense expectations
on the date of delivery. For, you had seen it evolve!
PHASE III Deployment
Performance of the site is monitored for a period of one
month if there is no site maintenance agreement.
Any problems found during this period will be solved, without
any additional cost to the customer.
The Site Promotion Process is implemented.
Re-engineering and re-designing depending on promotion
needs, to make the site a success.
The Site Maintenance Process is implemented.
Operations workflow at seedot Systems:
The flow chart visually describes the workflow and
the processes that are a part of any project undertaken
at seedot Systems.
The marketing team acquires the project from the client
and forwards it to the Operations team the Chief
Technical Officer and the Project Leaders. Projects are
delegated to the project leaders who in turn assign tasks
to team members who then work on the project within the
schedule allotted to them.
All deliverables are passed through a Quality Assurance
team who decides whether the process is iterative or not.
If satisfied, the Quality Assurance team passes the completed
project to the project leader who then hands out the deliverables
to the client. Client feedback and satisfaction is given
first hand consideration and all deliverables are reworked
upon to ensure a completely satisfied customer.
What is a Requirement
A good set of requirements is needed for any project,
especially computer system projects, to be successful. This
is where many projects fail, in that they do not specify
correctly what the system should do. In fact many systems
have just been given a deadline for delivery, a budget to
spend, and a vague notion of what it should do.
The root of this problem is:
Computer systems developers rarely have as good an idea
of how a business runs and should run, compared with a business
user, Business users have little idea of what a computer
system could achieve for them.
As a result paralysis sets in and business management time
is concentrated on meeting timescales and budgets, rather
than what is going to be delivered.
The truth is that you do not need a great deal of technical
knowledge to specify requirements; in fact it can be a big
disadvantage. A requirement for a computer system specifies
what you want or desire from a system. For a business in
particular this is, What you want or desire from a system,
which you believe will deliver you a business advantage.
This advantage need not just be a reduction in costs, in
fact many systems justified on a reduction in operating
costs, fail to deliver as low skilled but relatively cheap
staff, have to be replaced by high skilled, and more expensive
staff. The advantage can be a reduction in time to process
something, which will lead to a reduction in costs, or being
able to better use the unique knowledge base belonging to
As you start to specify what you want or desire, you hit
up against technical language of requirements. Fear not,
this is quite straightforward: