How to Estimate a Software project Easily?

How to estimate a software project and make the client aware that each change costs money?

Olga BińczakSep 27, 2021

Immediately at the beginning of cooperation between the Software House and the client ordering the application, there comes a moment that is critical for both parties - namely the valuation. Why is it critical? Well, because the paying party wants to find out what the funds will go to, and the contractors themselves, in order to price anything, must know exactly what solutions they will have to apply and how long it will take them.

However, money is not the only sensitive issue here. If there is a situation where the valuation is made based on a few laconic sentences, it is not difficult to misunderstand when the client receives a finished project that will contain only traces of what he expected. So, before this sum is scored, let's consider what agency specialists should pay attention to when estimating the project.

What to look for when estimating the application?

The basis for the successful implementation of the project, and therefore its valuation, is to know all the client's expectations. It is absolutely necessary to know his comprehensive opinion on the following topics:

  • Purpose of the application

  • Who will be the recipient and how does the customer see it now? What are your main business goals?

  • The scope of the application's operation

  • Developers need to know exactly what functionalities should be included in the application. How to know the scope of activities? Through meetings with the client, researching similar already functioning applications, or filling out a brief together. There is one more, the most effective method of learning about customer preferences - product workshops 

  • What devices and platforms should the application run on?

  • How much content / graphics do you need to prepare?

  • Is the budget for the application already specified?

  • By what date is it to be performed?

Thanks to the answers to these questions, it is possible to pre-predict how much time (and therefore money) the ordered project will consume. It is still not the complete knowledge needed to make a perfect cost estimate, but it does seem to be a solid base.

Project estimation methods

Of course, we are not the first to try to break down the application estimation process into prime factors. Two methods of project valuation are popular in the IT world. The first is based on forecasts and the second is based on the amount of time spent on the project.

Before we move on to describing them, let's discuss the question contained in the title. Why does every change cost? Since applications are usually priced on the basis of the work time that specialists will put into their creation, each adjustment requires them to invest more time than was agreed at the beginning of the cooperation.

Fixed Price

Fixed Price is an estimated project valuation based on data provided by the client right at the start of cooperation. Defining its purpose, scope, and specification is to serve as the basis for creating a valuation, which is presented at the stage of negotiating the offer. It should include extra time for unforeseen situations and additional services.

Time & Material

Time & Material is a method of settling a project based on the time spent on it. It works when describing the specifications is difficult at the time of establishing the terms of cooperation, and it is based only on the vision of the project. This model can be considered safe as the payment reflects the actions performed. Additionally, it is flexible because it allows you to remove or add new functionalities.

Which one to choose? The one that seems to be more adequate to the given order.

What should a well-prepared app quote include?

Now let's summarize what each app quotation should include:

  • Project goal (description of the general goal and specific goals).

  • Technical specification - presenting a description of the functions and systems that will be used in the project.

What else affects the app pricing?

To sum up, the project estimation is influenced by the available materials - if the client provides the exact specification of the product, it does not have to be performed by the project implementers. The experience of Software House specialists is also important. If they have already made applications similar to the one that the new client wants to order, they will be able to use their knowledge and perhaps avoid mistakes made in the past, and thus save their time paid by the client

Since we are experienced inexperience, let's face it - the experience of the performer himself is not without significance. Companies with extensive experience, employing many specialists, are more expensive than those that have just appeared on the market.

After analyzing the subject of app pricing, you can see how complicated the process is and where the additional costs for additional changes come from. What is more, in the light of the above information, it seems that the workshops allow for an accurate estimation of the project, because during the workshop all information necessary for accurate estimation is learned.

Project estimation process in Codemachine

1. Initial analysis

First contact

During the first contact, we want to learn your business goals and product vision and collect the information on the most important functionalities. We also answer the first questions and inform you about the predicted project cost. We review the materials you provide and form a team that will conduct the project analysis.

 

Creating a backlog

Once we have a general outline of what is to be done, there comes the time for more detailed workshops that will allow us to formulate the requirements in the form of a product backlog and provide more accurate estimates. We also establish the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) of the project, which will allow for implementing the project in stages and for the gradual development of the application.

2. Sprint 0

Now comes the time to prepare for launching the development of your project. We take some time to set the environment and configure the tools needed. We agree on the project workflow and the management method with you. It is time to specify the order and implementation of tasks in the backlog.

3. Development

The course of the development phase differs, depending on the management model chosen. We usually strive for iterative work, characteristic of Scrum. This allows for frequent verification of the progress and continuous improvement of the software development process. We flexibly adapt to any changes and keep in touch with you.

4. Release

When the specified scope of the project has been implemented, we are ready to release the first version. Usually, when creating a product, more than one version is being provided. It all depends on the arrangements made. The phase of iterations ended with releasing a version that may be repeated many times.

5. Project support

Usually, when the work on a website is completed, it requires maintaining and taking care of its security. We offer support for your project, which includes introducing new updates, as well as adding new functionalities, and correcting the errors, if necessary. The complexity of our services assures that you are not left on your own with the completed project.

Have an exciting project in mind? 

Codemachine provides comprehensive programming services. So this means that the price of the application includes every service related to product development, including project management.

► Need a project estimation? Or maybe an idea is sprouting in your head and you want to know its potential price? Don't wait, contact us today!