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'[OT]: If I want a quote'
2006\03\23@180119 by Gus Salavatore Calabrese

face picon face
If I want a quote from one of the developers
on this list to write some code based on some
PIC hardware that I would define, how should I
present the request properly ?
( Only want a fixed price quote, so I would have to
define things to a level that satisfied the developer )

Regards

AGSC

2006\03\23@220228 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 04:01 PM 3/23/2006 -0700, you wrote:
>If I want a quote from one of the developers
>on this list to write some code based on some
>PIC hardware that I would define, how should I
>present the request properly ?
>( Only want a fixed price quote, so I would have to
>define things to a level that satisfied the developer )

You'd have to specify pretty much everything. What the program does, any
critical issues, schematic, estimated production volume, any regulatory
issues, exact deliverables, time schedule, etc. I've seen this take
80 pages for a relatively simple product. Sometimes a couple is enough if
the engineer or developer understands the product area very, very well, but
under those conditions there is more chance of running afoul of prior NDA
agreements. Speaking of which, if you use one, make it REASONABLE, not one
of these things that would only apply to the most desperate of street people
seeking temp employment rather than a successful professional...

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
spam_OUTspeffTakeThisOuTspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com
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2006\03\23@221831 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
The proper tag is [BUY] and you can follow it with the project name or short
description and the body can be the specification.

I'm sure lots of people will help you "improve" and "further define" and
"disambiguate" your specification.

---
James Newton: PICList webmaster/Admin
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PIC/PICList FAQ: http://www.piclist.com





> {Original Message removed}

2006\03\24@001840 by Bob Axtell

face picon face
Gus Salavatore Calabrese wrote:

>If I want a quote from one of the developers
>on this list to write some code based on some
>PIC hardware that I would define, how should I
>present the request properly ?
>( Only want a fixed price quote, so I would have to
>define things to a level that satisfied the developer )
>
>Regards
>
>AGSC
>  
>
You would need to clearly spell-out what you wanted to have
done. If you can't do that, most developers will offer to "develop"
the spec at an hourly rate.

This two-part approach occurs 90% of the time over the last 10
years, at least for me. The reason is that most companies do not
hire engineers capable of documenting their thoughts. Its a major
failing here in the colonies.

--Bob

--
Note: To protect our network,
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http://beam.to/azengineer

2006\03\24@115743 by Robert Ammerman

picon face
> At 04:01 PM 3/23/2006 -0700, you wrote:
>>If I want a quote from one of the developers
>>on this list to write some code based on some
>>PIC hardware that I would define, how should I
>>present the request properly ?
>>( Only want a fixed price quote, so I would have to
>>define things to a level that satisfied the developer )
>
> You'd have to specify pretty much everything. What the program does, any
> critical issues, schematic, estimated production volume, any regulatory
> issues, exact deliverables, time schedule, etc. I've seen this take
> 80 pages for a relatively simple product. Sometimes a couple is enough if
> the engineer or developer understands the product area very, very well,
> but
> under those conditions there is more chance of running afoul of prior NDA
> agreements. Speaking of which, if you use one, make it REASONABLE, not one
> of these things that would only apply to the most desperate of street
> people
> seeking temp employment rather than a successful professional...

Actually, if all you are looking for is code, it is probably a lot simpler
than above. Your developer could then care less about things like production
volume, regulatory issues, etc.


For purposes of getting quotes, you don't even need a  schematic or
prototype. I would outline the spec something like:

General Description of Product:
   Describe what it is and what is is supposed to do

Hardware:
   Hardware will be designed by others. It will consist of a PIC16F123.
Inputs to the controller will be ??? and ???. Outputs will be ??? and ???.

Software:
   An accurate and complete description of the software functionality
required. Describe what is required, *not* how to do it.

Documentation:
   Describe documentation requirements

Schedule:
   Within ?? days/weeks after approval of contract a proposed schematic of
the hardware will be provided to the developer for review.
   The developer must express any concerns or issues regarding the
schematic within ?? days/weeks after receipt.
   Within ?? days/weeks after all schematic/hardware design issues are
resolved a set of working prototype hardware will be provided to the
developer.
   This hardware will include a standard ICD2 interface port.
   Within ?? days/weeks of receipt of the prototype hardware the developer
will provide working code in source format.
   Within ?? days/weeks of receipt of the prototype the developer will
provide documentation as described.

   Note: The developer is permitted and encouraged to begin development as
soon as possible after award of contract.
   It is not necessary to wait for the prototype hardware, or even the
complete schematic before beginnng.

Warranty:
   Develop will warrant code and repair any defects at no additional cost
for a period of ?? months/years after delivery. In no case will
   developer be responsible for any consequential damages due to errors in
the code.

Payment:
   Payment will be ??% of agreed total to be paid upon delivery of working
code, ??% on delivery of the documentation, and the remaining ??% will be
paid after an acceptance period of ?? weeks/montths.
   [Optional] 'Late Clause' defining penalty to developer for being late
with milestones.

Proposal response form to be filld in by developer:

Is the specified hardware sufficient for your anticipated implementation?

If not, what hardware will be required?

Do you have any other recommended hardware changes?

What language(s) do you intend to use to develop the application?

Please quote your fixed price for development and documentation as described
above?




Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

2006\03\24@124519 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 11:54 AM 3/24/2006 -0500, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Au contraire! If the design need to meet UL1998/CSA22.2 requirements for
critical
firmware reliability (even something as simple as an up/down garage door
opener or a
gas ignitor REQUIRES this effort, or (even worse) medical requirements, the
effort required, the time spent, and of course the cost will be MUCH
higher. One
design I did recently was not particularly mission-critical, but because of
the type and amount of production (and customer requirements) it required
approximately half the total effort to be expended developing self-test and
external test programs and procedures. If I had offered a fixed price bid
based on a one line mention of testing I would have lost my shirt and
possibly other valuable assets as well. Anything that *controls* something
with substantial power will require such consideration.


>For purposes of getting quotes, you don't even need a  schematic or
>prototype. I would outline the spec something like:

*Maybe* not, but I'd like to see it. I'd also like it spelled out who
supplies the prototype system and who make sure it works (since it has
no firmware it can't possibly be tested if it's a new system. Not so
simple. And what if there are serious problems with the hardware design
or implementation?

>General Description of Product:
>     Describe what it is and what is is supposed to do

Absolutely.


>Hardware:
>     Hardware will be designed by others. It will consist of a PIC16F123.
>Inputs to the controller will be ??? and ???. Outputs will be ??? and ???.

Yes.


>Software:
>     An accurate and complete description of the software functionality
>required. Describe what is required, *not* how to do it.

Repeat that last sentence slowly several times. Very much a key point.
Nothing is worse than dealing with the 'how to do it' from someone who
doesn't really understand the possibilities and trade-offs. You might
as well ask for a 20% adder on the cost..


>Documentation:
>     Describe documentation requirements

This is extremely important. Documentation costs can exceed programming
costs. If I want to minimize it, I say that the information will be
provided for the client to prepare manuals or whatever. Something open-ended
like "prepare an operating manual covering all operations to the client's
satisfaction"
would require delving a lot deeper into the requirements.

{Quote hidden}

Yes, time date and cost of all deliverables.

>     Note: The developer is permitted and encouraged to begin development as
>soon as possible after award of contract.
>     It is not necessary to wait for the prototype hardware, or even the
>complete schematic before beginnng.

Which means that costs will be incurred immediately.

>Warranty:
>     Develop will warrant code and repair any defects at no additional cost
>for a period of ?? months/years after delivery. In no case will
>     developer be responsible for any consequential damages due to errors in
>the code.

I suggest a $/hr basis for changes in the spec. (Almost) invariably, unless
the purchaser has done this many times before, there are misunderstandings in
addition. Usually making those changes is part of the fixed cost, but sometimes
it's a judg[e]ment call. In particular if a requirement was not mentioned
because
it was thought to be obvious or included somewhere else, you need to resolve
the problem. Hopefully the consultant will clarify that point at the earliest
possible time (even before getting the contract) but some may deliberately
try to get the contract first.



{Quote hidden}

Note that 'shopping' details provided by a consultant is extremely
unethical, but unfortunately not unheard of.


>Bob Ammerman
>RAm Systems
>
>

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