Learn how to say No. But also learn to negotiate with your client

Recently I have been employed by German Startup to implement Scrum Methodology as their Delivery Process. The Product Manager has required a roadmap with one year ahead about our product development, with men days inclusive for each month. After 2 months I got fired for not providing Roadmap with fixed scope and fixed time. Even though we went for Agile Scrum. I guess it was good learning for the following claim:

“I am glad that at the early stages of my this development, some Scrum Masters and Solution Architects taught me the value of saying No, but also how to negotiate to make the “No” a compromisation that works as a solution for the benefit of both sides. They taught me that if I don’t raise my voice and say that “this, this and this can’t be done now or in that way”, then I will end-up with an unnecessary amount of pressure on me. And it’s true. Unrealistic deadlines, unrealistic requirements and unrealistic delivery will be part of the discussions during development, but you have to find the correct arguments to defend the fact that some things cannot be done by a certain deadline or in the way they are proposed. It is the worst form of unprofessionalism to make a commitment that you can’t keep, or make false delivery just to think that you keep your line manager happy in that way. The opposite may happen.”

Taken from: URL

WordPress serialized data to array

It took me about 3 hours of development time for solving the issue this little magical snippet solved.
For all of you who are fighting with parsing javascript serialized data to proper PHP Array, this is the snippet you need in order to get

//Define a simple PHP Array

$data = array();

// whirl up $_POST to PHP array the propper way
parse_str($_POST, $data);

The true costs of hiring a Freelancer vs Full-Time developer

Sometimes you find yourself in this doubtful situation and you need to decide who will build your next application. This article will help you get a realistic insight on the true costs of the full time employee and why it is cheaper and more flexible to hire a freelancer for your upcoming project:

Costs of Hiring Freelancers vs Full Time employee

How much should I charge web design / graphic design

A question that confronts many Web & Grafic Designer at some point where we turn from dealing with free websites for friend’s local business to professional level.

I come from the Business Informatic background and during my studies I have learned a lot about business, project management, marketing campaigns etc. but nobody ever told me how to deal with this question. So I had to figure it out by myself. Folowing list contains some useful articles that help you get closer to the answer.

How do I charge for Webdesign?

Personaly, I started like everybody else and used exclusively hourly based charging, but recently I took time and came up using following methods:

1. Charge Webdesign on Hourly basis

You know how it works. Here in Germany, starting as a Webdesign Freelancer on professional level, it means minimum 40€ to about 150€ per hour, depending on your level and area of expertise. (for example: with good knowledge in Drupal area you may start with 60€ per hour.)

2. Charge Webdesign by Lead / Sale share?

What does this mean. Well let me explain. Website is a Marketing Tool, while Marketing itself is a Tool to handle Product or Service selling process. Which, as you probably know, makes money for a company. This is where your expertise of handling business and comes to stage. Find out why your customer wants to make a website, how much does he invest into his product or service and how much is he charging for it and offer him a contract on a share you think would fit for both. The concept is actually similar to Affiliate Marketing

This way of charging is a bit tricky and does require some expertise in business, and your ability to risk some time for no or small return. Tough, if implemented right, you could get richt with it. In refference, charging per hour contracts probably wont. While by this method you have to risk much more time and energy than usual,  this will also motivate you to be better in what you do, cause  if you do it right, and the product sales goes boom; voila, your future is taken care of.

3. Method (my favourite):  Combine the two.

This one may be the most secure and most aplicable for web site inquiries coming from startup companies. With this method you are not trying to rip the client with 200€ per hour work,  but instead you are offering your client a partner contract with a risk share breaking on your back.

Why would you risk for your clients?

Answer is simple. New companies mostly do not have big bugets, they have a new product that will change a world in some specific way. Take your time to get to know the product, do your research and if you get that tickling feeling about the success of the product, go with it, bring out the best of yourself and prepare to launch among the stars. It may not work allways but one time it has to.

To make your way safe or at least to cover your living expenses offer them the contract for 40-50% of your normal hourly rate. This will make your offer much more attractive and will allow startups to go for a much cheaper “test drive” with the new product.

4. Your method?

Do you have any inovative Idea on charging the projects? I would be glad to hear it. Write it in the comment.


The thing about free webdesign for Churches and charities

Did you ever have to work as a web designer for a Church or charity website?

Do you feel like you were called to do so, and think you should do it for free because it is your calling? Well, here are few thoughts to consider before you start creating some awesomeness in Photoshop & Sublime text.

Professional web design is work not a hobby.

I am a new born christian and I am a part of Church that I really love. The leading pastor has spoken a lot into my identity as a young christian, and I decided to support the Church with my talents as a web designer and online marketer. I actually felt like it was my calling to do so.

Define the work before you name your price.

From the begining on it was normal that I will do it for free. As we began to define the project plan, I realised it was a pretty big job. The work included professional custom design on top of CMS that would be able to present and sync events managed through external Church Management Software. It should also sync and present small groups that were managed in the other external software (written in pyton as custom work of local programmer). Not to mention it should also be able to deliver the API for the Sermons and Team groups for the app that was to be develop next to the website. Behind all that the Website should of course be responsive and optimised for accessibility. The similar websites that were given as a reference:

Does this still sound like hobby work to you?

As I revised the work I was to deliver, it became clear to me that I can simply not do it for free. It turns out I would have to do 250+ hours of work for free.

The time and energy it included, sounded more like I am doing the website for the middle size Company. Which in a sense my Church is, concerning roundabout 400 attendees and about 40 people working within (mostly voluntarily).

To free or not to free work – decide for yourself

Question came to my mind: “Am I still Serving if I charge for it?” Well, if you have rich parents and you heart beats for the Church and Jesus explicitly told you to to so, please go and do it. If you are a designer with not such luck, and have to pay the bills like the rest of the world, I bet there is no way around.

“Are you still serving your Church if you charge?” Well yes, as in all other projects you are even more about to deliver high quality, since you are doing it for God and His Bride, the Church. Unless the Church needs just a simple presentation and sermon times which you can do in HTML template in max 2-3 days. I would say highly recommend you charge for it. Your gift for the Church will be the quality and the lower price if you decide so. I would suggest not to go lower than 50% of your hourly rate. Cause you are delivering 150% quality for Him.

Help your Church to realise the charge problem.

Based on the Nuschool article from the reference on the bottom, you could try to convince your pastors about the value of the website and how they can profit with it. Getting more attendees will also get more donors. Getting more satisfied (existing) attendees will help them to present where the Church resources go to and will make them proud of their church website and more open to invest more. They will also, most probably be happier to share the link of your church website or the link to the latest sermon that touched them so deeply. Once because you will take care of the easy sharing social link and also because they are in love with new professional design.


Yet, there is no money problem…

Well, since Church also has to pay the bills just like any other organisation, it means it has to have it financial resources. The bills for the electricity are paid, the rent is paid, the band equipment is paid… Well everything is paid because the Church needs those resources. There is a point. If the Church needs a website it should be taken into account and paid. If something is not worth paying it is probably not necessary. No company starts with a project that does not bring value to it. At least none of successful companies. Rather help your church gain ideas of how to fund the website project. You can find many ideas in google.


I have been speaking with my two of my colleagues who did the Website for their Church. Both of them worked for free and both of them told me not to do the same mistake. Pastors usually do not understand the work behind the “Simple CMS and Sermon listings” and will believe you can do it as as your hobby within few days. But to be honest, Church is an organisation and organisations have complex websites. Your work will also not end when the website is delivered. Your work of teaching and offering support just starts. If you still decide to make it for free, be ready to work double hours in order to finance your free work, and hope it will be appreciated, cause in the end, it did not cost anything…