We begin by asking for a written outline detailing the overall requirements for the product you want built and the business problem you want to solve. We have found this is a good way to start, because it allows us to see the "big picture" and then zoom into finer detail later.
At this point, the outline should be as specific as needed to convey your requirements, but it need not be a detailed engineering or design specification per se. In follow-up meetings we draw out the details and expose gaps in the requirements.
We then are able to prepare a written estimate and a general execution plan. We prefer to organize the project into phases and to work iteratively, delivering features and working systems at the end of each phase. Working this way allows us to deliver value sooner to you, and provide opportunities for feedback.
The written estimate is a good-faith attempt to provide an overall cost for the project and does not represent a fixed price. We usually work according to a hourly rate, and therefore the actual costs can vary.
On approval of the estimate we ask for a down payment prior to commencing work. Thereafter, payment is expected on delivery of each phase, roughly every two or three weeks. This phased approach mitigates risks for everyone, and allows you to manage expenses incrementally.
We staff projects according to their scope and timetable, and handle all internal project management functions for you. The core architecture and design is implemented by a senior engineer. Throughout the entire process, the company founder is engaged directly in all aspects of the product development.
You receive regular and open communication, and naturally from time to time issues may arise for which a decision from you will be needed to move the process forward.
Every project is different, and our pragmatism allows us to adapt general principles to specific situations. Be assured our focus is always on delivering excellent service and software, for a fair price. If we feel any of these will not be feasible then you will be referred to other very competent firms.
We are open to negotiating in good faith, especially for larger projects, though our aim is always to make mutually beneficial and balanced arrangements. Ming Fu offers seasoned talent who design quality solutions, and we stand firm by declining projects that revolve solely around price.