Before becoming a full-time technology writer I freelanced for a number of publications. Reporters get paid by the word, a standard that has lasted for decades. So has paying consultants — be they management, architecture, engineering or IT — by the hour.
But in this piece based on an interview with the head of an IT firm, Haydn Shaughnessy wonders if independents will come to be paid by a new standard — by what they deliver.
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The possibility of being paid by results raises a number of issues for both consultants/integrators and organizations. The biggest, though, is that it will demand from the organization a precise written definition of the deliverable. If it’s an application, the company will have to outline the functions wanted, what apps it will integrate with and the performance of the completed work (it will access data in no more than 2.5 seconds, say). There will be no ‘we can’t say until we our systems and look at the source code.’ In other words, there can be no wiggle room.
Or what if performance is measured by an improvement in the number of hits on a Web site, the number of staff using the app or the number of customers buying product?
Can it be done? Can it be done on all IT projects? Or for some complex projects will pay-by-the-hour always survive?