Yesterday, I was forwarded a post from Dwayne Wright who could not be more wrong about project management and value pricing. Please read his post before continuing.
I posted wrote a comment, he rejected it saying, “Well, just rejected the first comment for a blog that wasn’t clearly SPAM. It came from a value billing advocate and was equally harsh, combative and lacking of substance.”
“Harsh, combative,” HELL yes. “Lacking in substance,” I’ll let you be the judge.
I am probably the original source of the comment about billing by the hour as being unethical. (It is clearly suboptimal and I believe immoral as well, but that is a whole other story.)
First, let me be clear, I do not accuse anyone personally of being unethical; it is the practice that is unethical because it promotes some very bad habits.
- It puts the consultant and the customer is an adversarial role. It is in the consultant’s financial interest to maximize hours; in the customer’ interest to minimize hours.
- You state, “It also says this (hourly billing) is often used when a precise statement of work cannot be quickly prescribed. Does that sound familiar to you and your consulting business?” Yes, it sure does and that is just plain wrong. Prescription before diagnosis is malpractice in any profession.
- While the PMBOK (and PMI, in general) have some good things to say about project management, they are overly obsessed with costs. After all most of this stuff comes from government (think defense contractors and NASA). In business, customers do not care about your costs, nor should they. They care about the results. They pay for results not efforts. This again is a misalignment.
- You are arguing that the risks should be borne by both the customer and the consultant. That is just wrong. You are the one with the knowledge not the customer. It is your job to spread diversify your risks across all your customers not put it back on each of them. Your customers hire you because of risk. If what you did was easy, you would not be hired in the first place. To put it back on them is ludicrous.
Lastly, it is not “value billing” is it “value pricing” or better yet “pricing on purpose.” A price is set ahead of time a bill comes after the fact. You bill now, we at the VeraSage Institute, encourage you to set a price beforehand.
Senior Fellow, VeraSage Institute
By the way, Dwayne Wright, you are free to post any comments here they will not be rejected. You can thank me later for giving you a larger audience then you ever thought possible.