Without waking the ‘Project Based vs. Hourly Billing` beast I’ll put it out there that we are project based for many reasons, the bulk of which reflect this bit from the article:
I do believe that if we hold to some core foundations, project pricing can be quite successful. But if you abandon a focused process, it can also be disastrous, and cost your firm thousands of dollars.
Process is key. It’s absolutely key. I don’t believe that project based billing can work without a fully fleshed process that everyone agrees on. I have worked within the agency-by-the-hour model and thought it was awful. The only real process involved was to make sure we were somehow magically meeting the three digit estimate of hours we committed to. That or explain to the client why we now need to bill them more so we can work more and get the job we said we’d do out the door. Or explain why we need to eat the time because we didn’t estimate properly. We talked about hours all the time and it was terribly draining.
Focusing on hours took focus off the work itself because every minute of every day was quantified. The success of a project came down to how good we were collectively at estimating (or getting creative to make sure the budget was respected). But that’s just my opinion, and I want to do more than that for clients.