Needs Analysis/Quoting Client Discussion

I am looking for feedback regarding costing out the needs analysis element in a project focused on delivering multiple online training courses to a client. 

As we all know, every client is different... some provide the course they want with clear learning outcomes and supporting materials. Others say, "I want a course on Ethics"  but don't have learning outcomes, have little or too much content to use, etc. I think we can all agree that needs analysis is a wise investment. It saves time and money if we work on the right problems. 

When it comes to costing our your project, how do you handle this specific area (e.g., needs analysis)? Do you quote a fixed price? Hourly price? How have you estimated the time to complete this phase in the past?

Your advice/comments are appreciated. 

3 Replies
Holly MacDonald

Richard - it does depend!

You'll have to use your judgement, but if it's a client that isn't experienced or hasn't done much of the work to inform a needs analysis, I'll charge that portion by the hour and part of that is to scope the development effort. This way, if I uncover that e-learning isn't a great fit, we can have a conversation about what their options are and we can decide whether or not to move forward. If we've worked together before or the solution seems reasonable, that cost goes down.

If it is elearning development then my baseline is 2.5 hours / slide as a starting place for estimating a typical elearning course. This includes graphics, voice over, interactions, project management, etc and is usually 3 review cycles. if you start with the rule of thumb that 30 slides = one hour of learning, then you multiply 30 x 2.5 = 75 hours. I find if you start with this, then you can fine tune. For example, if there is a lot of extra interactivity or quizzes or customized animations/video work, then you can add dev time. Others may have different starting places, but be careful about estimating too low.

I always add an hour a week of project management time, which is used to communicate with client, subcontractors, etc.

Hope that helps.

Holly