If you’ve ever had a software project estimated, you’ll know what we’re talking about. Getting an accurate estimate – and getting it quickly – is not easy to come by. And then estimates and real life? Don’t even get me started. (Does scope creep ring a bell?) Let’s take a closer look at what to do to make this process easier.
Though an estimate is “just” an estimate – nailing it down accurately at the very beginning will heavily influence the level of your satisfaction as a client when the project ends. Which is why it is (or at least should be) so important for your software development company.
And you might have heard all the horror stories about exceeded budgets and timelines and the long sagas of neverending product development. Or maybe you’ve experienced one of them yourself.
If you want to avoid them in the future, there are a few rules you could follow.
Rule one: get an experienced team on board
Like DeSmart 😉 With thousands of estimates and completed projects over almost 20 years, we have a pretty good idea of how long a project might take and how much it’s going to cost you.
This means we can give you an accurate estimate as quickly as within 48 hours. Which then means you don’t have to wait for weeks before you get a number and can make a decision moving things forward.
We’re also going to be transparent about the costs, so you know what exactly you’re paying for. And, based on your particular requirements, we can recommend the most effective solutions to achieve your goals.
This includes dealing with budget caps or fixed timeframes. As long as we know where we stand and what’s absolutely fixed, we can play around adjusting other parameters that are more flexible to still get the best possible outcome.
Rule two: get your story straight
A.k.a. define your requirements and needs. I know we’re repeating this a lot here, but that’s just because it’s super important. For us to be able to give you an accurate estimate quickly, save us all some back and forth, and also for you to avoid unpleasant surprises in the future, defining as much as possible upfront is crucial.
If there are still many things you don’t know, we can figure them out together during our discovery workshops. We’re going to see how your business objectives can be tied to software features and what your target users really need.
The final cost of your project will involve many things, but some of them are:
- Whether we’re building from scratch, scaling something that’s already there, rewriting/refactoring an old thing, or integrating something new with it
- The technology we’re using
- The variety of features you want to include
- The team size we need to get it done
Factor in your business model and other requirements outside of strictly technical details. We’ll need to know it all to avoid surprises in the future – for both sides (though when we start a project together, we like to think we’re all on the same side ;))
Rule three: stay open-minded
Estimating a project in agile software development is a challenge by the very nature of agile. Though it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The key here, again, is experience.
With some type of projects, we just know what we’ll need because we’ve done it a bunch of times. And we also know what could go wrong, what we don’t know, and what areas to watch out for because they can bring additional costs in some situations. (Don’t worry, we’ll tell you.)
We’re all about clarity and transparency, so you’re going to always know what’s in store. What you have to remember is that you’re not paying for a feature or buying an out-of-the-box product. You’re paying for custom software development – so essentially, for how long it’s going to take developers to build the product from scratch. And you’re paying for their expertise.
Luckily for you (and us), the more expertise they have, the more they’ll be able to tell you about possible changes, delays, or hurdles down the road, which might affect the final cost of the project.
Of course, none of us are clairvoyant, so we can’t predict some things like tech changes (or worldwide pandemics), so keeping an open mind (and some wiggle room in your budget), especially with an agile project, is always a good idea.
Rule four: call us
Over the years estimating software projects, we’ve developed our own methods not just for software creation, but also for estimating it. This is why we can give you an accurate estimate so quickly.
So for example, we’ve created enough marketplaces (one of our specialities) to know what needs to go into a marketplace, how long it will take – and how much it will cost. (If you’re curious: building an online marketplace with an experienced software house could typically mean a budget of around 50,000 EUR/GBP/USD.)
Of course, this is just a rough estimate without considering your specific needs at this point. And another thing is, we like to estimate the goal – the exact problem we’re trying to solve with the software instead of analyzing costs per feature. Because that’s what we do – we solve problems (and we’re not featuring manufacturers.)
For a more accurate number, reach out, and let’s talk more details – whatever the project you have on the list next.