Highlights from the WordPress Bulawayo Training

Highlights from the First WordPress Workshop

Last week, we partnered with GoDigital and The Techvillage to have a workshop on WordPress. The workshop was a 5 day crash course on WordPress Website Development.  This training was the first of a lineup of events to support the WordPress Bulawayo Community.

Highlights from the WordPress Bulawayo Training

Highlights from the WordPress Bulawayo Training

 

The Five Days Broken Down

Day 0 – Know your Words

Day 0 was extended for members  to complete beginners who wanted to catch up on some of the terms that were used through the course. On this day, general terms such as Hosting, Domain Name, DNS, Plugin and Theme among others were explained

Day 1 – Setting Up the Environment.

Community members participating in the class where each provided with shared hosting space on a sub-domain courtesy of The Techvillage and Neon. A walkthrough on how to install WordPress on Cpanel was the first order of the day. The last bit of the first day emphasized the need for planning before actually getting started on development.

Day 2 – Installing a theme, customizing and Creating the first Page.

With the same hosting space provisioned for in Day 1, a practical walkthrough on how to install a WordPress theme. With installation done, participants got to learn to customize their theme on the WordPress dashboard. The day ended after creating a new blank page.

Day 3 – Plugins and Widgets.

Day 3 started off right where Day 2 had ended. Members where taught how to make use of plugins and widgets to populate their very first pages. Using Day 1’s , members added structure to the homepage of their hypothetical businesses’ websites.

Day 4 – Creating More Pages and Navigations.

Using knowledge that they gained from creating the first page, members where challenged to create additional pages for their hypothetical businesses/organization. The follow-one was a lesson on how to add pages to a navigation bar.

Day 5 – Preparing for a Real World Project.

Day Five was project preparation. The challenge was for participants to select a school of their choice and develop a website for them. Project Planning was discuss as well as how to gather content before starting development.

Follow on Events?

Due to requests from particiapants, there will be follow-on events, one will be a general guide for someone looking to start a Web Development Business.
The Second will be The Devshop‘s crash course on HTML, CSS and JS as we get ready for the more code-demanding sessions.

If you missed out on this training but would like to catch up on upcoming ones do follow us on Social Media to keep up to date

A Software Developer’s Guide to Billing

One of the challenges we faced when starting the Devshop was figuring out how to bill clients for work. If you remember from our story on how we began, we were mostly a group of developers who had no previous knowledge of developing commercially. Naturally, we lacked background in the commercial aspects.

A few years on, we have certainly learnt a lot about how to approach it. Different clients will require different billing methods but here are a few we have used over time.

Working with clients who bring a lot of changes has it's complications

Most local developers use a fixed cost development model. It is great for the client but at times not so much for the developer

Some Billing Methods

Project-based.

This is the most common kind of billing with local developers from our experience. This method of billing involves initially assessing the amount of work to be done. The client is then billed a fixed cost for the entire project.

Advantages

  • Clients tend to prefer this method of billing. It makes them able to plan ahead by knowing how much to set aside for the work.
  • If you are a very skilled Developer you can finish projects that may take longer for other developers and consequently get more out of your time.

Disadvantages

  • When dealing with “sticky clients” whose changes constantly evolving you will spend a lot of time on a single project which results in you getting less out of your time.
  • Work done must be well understood prior to engagement or it may be undercharged.

As a general guideline for developers choosing to take this approach, it is good practice to create a specification sheet or a Software Requirements Specification before billing. In addition to helping you to be able to understand the amount of work, it will also help you in planning the project.

The Expectation and Reality of a Software can be reduced through proper documentation

It is important for the client to understand what it is that they are paying for. Software Requirement Specifications prevent an endless loop of changes caused by the difference between their expectation and what the developer got from their descriptions

 

Feature-based.

Featured based billing (may be referred to as Functionality based) is in many ways like Project-based billing except instead of the whole project, you bill per feature. It has some added advantages over the Project-based approach.

Advantages

  • The method works best for projects with incremental release cycles. If you are adding functionality on an existing project that may have been built by someone else this method would work.
  • The nature of the feature-based approach does not give much room for misunderstanding requirements which reduces ‘sticky clients’.
  • Work is easier to measure for a feature than for an entire project.

Disadvantages

  • Billing paperwork is more frequent so time doing paperwork increases.
  • Mostly works on bigger projects (Cannot really break down a website into features, can we?).

Apart from the overhead of additional paperwork, this is a generally a good method to adopt. It eliminates some of the problems with Project-based billing

Hourly.

Hourly billing is a great way to cost projects. This method typically involves recording the hours spent on a project and the sending an invoice based on that.

Advantages.

  • Works for clients whose requirements are vague.
  • Addition of requirement by the client does not cost the developer.

Disadvantages

  • Different skill levels of developers may need to have different hourly rates. More seasoned developers would generally  finish work fast so would have a higher hourly rate. There is no sure way to calculate such a value.

Generally hourly billing has a lot to offer for developers. It gives the client reasons to be more succinct in their requirements. Work moves through the pipeline faster. It does require for the client to have some assurance that you are making use of their hours efficiently.

 

A beatiful benefit of hourly billing. Shut up and take my mney

A key benefit of Hourly billing is that the client will pay for any hours caused by additional requirements

 

 

Daily and Other Time-based Methods.

Time-based methods generally share the same advantages as hourly-rates. The key difference is, as the time-period becomes longer there is increased need for accountability. For example a client on a daily billing schedule may want to is you are spending the entire working day writing code.

 

 

In conclusion….

There are multiple ways to approach. The truth is there is no one perfect way to approach it.  There are projects that will require a mix of two approaches (Hybrid Billing Models). While this is not a very specific guide to billing, we hope it will help you get started.