Website Development

What is the best methodology when developing a mobile responsive website?


October 4th, 2016

I am in the process of finding the right development agency/partner to build my website and I am receiving estimates with surely different amounts but also different approaches and methodologies. What would you recommend between 1) AGILE "sprints", 2) Fixed amount fits all and 3) hourly rates? For info I am non-tech but with little notions, it's my first start-up and I have a clear idea of the architecture and the features (it's a social network type of platform which requires specific coding). Thanks for your advice!

Josh McCormack Owner, InteractiveQA - Marketing, Web Dev, Testing, Data & Market Analysis

October 4th, 2016

We do "not to exceed" bids, and price out each function "chinese menu style," meaning we price each piece of functionality and you choose what you want. 

Particularly when you don't have specs that are 100+ pages long, there are different ways to do things. So you want a page with a particular piece of functionality. We estimated it would be $2,500. If I find a quick, easy way to do what you want that would be slightly different from what you asked for I'll give you the option - we build it as you asked for $2,500, or we use this off the shelf thing and it will cost $300. Up to you.

If you want to do hourly or sprints you have to have confidence in the efficiency of the team and a technical project manager to work alongside them. 

I'd also be careful of developers that feel the need to build things from scratch. There might be advantages in performance or security, but you have to weigh the cost and time it will take to reinvent the wheel.

Richard Navarrete Head of Engineering

October 4th, 2016

Hello Anonymous,

The way you construct your contract is different from the approach to development (agile, waterfall, etc.).  On the topic of it being fixed or time and materials, I always pick a fixed / delivery-based contract.  Especially if this is your first big project and you are non-technical.  When you select the agency-developers, you want them to put together an SOW that has as much detail in it as possible.  Vague terms can be misinterpreted.  "Build front page" To you, that can mean so many things, like the special carousel calendar you mentioned in a meeting, but unless it's spelled out in the SOW, don't expect it to happen.  If the project is taking longer than expected, it's still on them to deliver what is promised, as opposed to a T&M-based contract... where they can take longer and keep charging you since you're paying for their time.  If they won't do a deliver-based agreement, then there are other ways to get what you want in the SOW with less risk to you, but it's tougher.  

The development approach largely depends on the people involved and your timeline, but most often I agree that going agile is best since you see releases sooner and by definition is more accepting of changes later in the process (something that might be key for a first project).  

Curious, is this a business that is centered around the website?  Is the product you're selling the website?  If so, I'd say find a great developer and build it in-house.  Under this model, there are some investors that won't fund companies that didn't build their own product.  Which is sound investing, but there are good reasons you want to build your own product.

Good luck and feel free to reach out for any follow up questions.


Valeriia Timokhina Eastern Peak Software: Custom software development

October 4th, 2016

There are some business models when you work with software developers: fixed price, time and materials and dedicated team.

Feel free to visit our Glossary - we created descriptions of the most common terms, especially to help non-tech entrepreneurs.

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Hope this helps:) Have a nice day!

David Donovan Solution Architect

Last updated on February 12th, 2017

Fixed bids suggests the waterfall approach meaning that you have 1 deliverable and 1 delivery date.

And fixed bids suggests that you have all of these things in order to accurately bid: object model, wireframes, use cases, test script, etc...

Companies that place fixed bids are hungry to get business so they will do anything to get the business.

The other, and more successful approach to deliver a product, is using the agile approach. With that approach you have many deliverables, each 2 weeks apart, and many chances to change or adjust the design. Unless you are doing exactly the same thing you did before, there will be changes!

Fixed hourly rates makes total sense for software development, and I have been successful using fixed hourly rates with an agile approach.