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terms of business

In recent years, I’ve been taking on shorter more focused assignments. I’m absolutely open to chatting about yours.

My approach

Quality Engineeing

Of course I was not born with a tester dummy in my mouth, but I will skip the first 25 years of various challenges (not least, Aspergers). I took my first step in 1993 with a practical BTEC HND, then followed a grotty foot-in-the-door contract on a Windows 95 helpdesk, before I started on a freelance path in Quality, now racking up over 100 projects.

Testing was pretty mind-numbing work in the late 1990’s - heavy on analysis documentation, heavy of reporting, and arch-lever files everywhere (there was always someone who wanted the whole damn lot printed out). Like most in that period, I fell into it as it, certainly wasn’t a popular field to work in back then. As for test automation, these were the more challenging days of off-the-shelf third-party software, sold with gusto and commonly sold with the classic line “Do more with less code!”.

At this point in a 25 year career, half has been in Quality assurance and Test management(RIP), the latter half focused on Test engineering and DevOps. Although the skills most frequently utilized are my technical skills, I also bring a Quality assurance mindset to every project. I also bring empathy, something that used to work against me, but now I learnt to apply it in a contructive way in context of work.

In the late 1990’s I latched onto opensource for the first time, PHPNuke was my first toy and at that time sourceforge was the major centre of opensource code. From that point forward, discovered Fitnesse and Selenium. Opensource has been my biggest inspiration and my biggest source of learning, introducing me first to test frameworks like Fitnesse, which first sparked my interest in test automation in 2003.

I never make any assumptions project-to-project. I enjoy the challenge of testing - the broad skills remit, the constant skills updating, sometimes dealing with negativity. Bad perceptions of testing usually have a reason, but the concerns quickly vanish with actual results that the whole team can process.I have developed ability manage many business and technical tasks, and a mindset always ready to change/adapt.

Consultation

As well as delivering website projects and working as a freelance, I also provide consultation.

Accessibility

Ways of working

I have worked with people all across the world on projects of all sizes. Team support is built-in to the way I work.

My location

I generally work remotely. Where absolutely necessary I will travel to your location; otherwise I will participate fully via video calls like Zoom, and messaging services like Slack.

Asynchronicity

Working remotely is not just about location; it’s about being timezone agnostic and asynchronous:

Cost

My fee depends on the type of work you’d like me to do and length of contract. When outlining what your project is, please give a clear expectation of what you would like me to do, when you’d like it to be done by, and the budget you have available.

Ongoing retainers

I often work with clients on a regular basis to chip away at their testing to-do list.

Expenses

I’ll sometimes have some expenses for your project, such as travel costs, hotel costs (if early starts or late nights are needed), subsistence costs if away from home, and any project-specific equipment or software.

These expenses are usually included in the project price, but if you prefer these to be explicit, they can be itemised on your estimate and invoice.

Licensing costs that you may incur, for example web-fonts and stock image licenses, will be paid by you directly.

If anything unexpected crops up during the project I’ll let you know as far in advance as possible so that you can approve it.

Negotiations

I’m yet to come across a project with unlimited funds, so I’m well accustomed to working within the constraints of a set budget.

If your budget won’t stretch to the total estimated project price, I’m happy to work with you to reduce the scope in a way that will allow us to work together.

A limited initial budget may mean a reduced initial amount of work followed by a series of regular monthly ‘retainer’ payments, allowing you to spread the cost (and the work) over a longer period.

It’s not unheard of that a client comes to me wanting A, B and C and it turns out that C isn’t necessary or will detract from A and B, somehow. If I see that this is the case, I’ll let you know and we can reduce the scope of the project to just A and B. Having assumed C was going to be part of the project, you may have budget remaining that you’d still like to invest, in which case I can help advise you to maximise the return on revenue spent.

Discounts and volunteering

If I were to work at a discounted rate I’d be unable to dedicate as much time to working on paid projects and my own professional development.

That doesn’t mean I’d never discount or waive my fee if the project is something I feel strongly about and is a genuinely unique opportunity, so if you are unable to pay a reasonable fee and have valid and compelling reasons why, then please let me know. I may choose to involve myself with the project if I’m able to without it interfering with my paid work, but please:

Speculative work

I believe that speculative work (where a designer is asked to work as part of a ‘competition’, where only the ‘winner’ is compensated for their work) can have a place for aspiring designers/developers, but as an experienced professional I work with others, not in competition with them, and require a deposit to be paid before I can begin any work.

Contract

I draw up a contract for every job I undertake. My contracts are in plain English (as little legalese as I can get away with!) and ensure there will be no misunderstandings. They cover, among other things, what materials you’ll give me so that I can do the job for you, a breakdown of the job itself, payment terms and details of copyright ownership.

The first contract I send you isn’t necessarily the one we’ll both sign. It’s for you to read through carefully and make sure you’re happy with everything. I’m happy to consider any amendments, so if you’d like to see any changes just ask and I’ll see what I can do.

Once we have agreed the project scope and price, and we’ve both signed it, we’re nearly ready to book a block of time in my diary! Just one more thing…

Consultation days

Sometimes the requirements and scope of a project are not known. If this is the case, I can work with you to produce them. My time for this is billable by the day, must be paid for up front, and is separate to any potential future project costs.

What next?

If it all sounds good and, in principle, you’re looking forward to us working together, get in touch and we can talk about your project!