How to estimate project cost and duration when developing an app? Everyone who plans to make their business more efficient and profitable faces this issue. Here is a small set of tips that will simplify this process.
The more detailed your requirements are, the more correctly you will be understood. And the more proper evaluation of the cost of development you get. (And the more proper evaluation of the development cost you will get.) Therefore, you must first define the following criteria.
- Business purpose. Decide what the purpose of the application is and what the needs of the audience are. Specify key functions, desired time and budget. Find out how the application will help you to earn or save. Give a primary assessment yourself – is it possible to implement the project for a certain budget? Obviously, it is impossible to do, for example, a taxi service from scratch for 3K $.
- Technical aspect. This is a point about the coverage (which affects the architecture), the amount of data, the platform (iOS, Android, Web or cross-platform), the devices (smartphones, tablets and others), the integration with other services (Google Maps, social networks etc.) and so on. You should also decide what design you prefer.
Address to a skilled expert. He studies everything you provide: the technical requirement, the description, prototypes, use cases and so on. It happens, that there are only ideas or general descriptions. Or it happens, that there is a technical requirement, but almost always the data we have is not enough for estimation.
If it is possible, you should specify the list of functions, appraise each of them and summarize. This estimation is free and lasts from 1 to 3 workdays. The cost may vary when hammering out the details. The price is fixed only if indicated in the contract.
The quick and easy estimation of a large / complicated / unpredictable project is impossible. Get ready for that. In this case you will need a payed analysis phase, but this is not the topic.
Development Cost Estimation
After the incoming data is analysed, the amount of work is divided into blocks and also estimated. If there are a lot of functions and the project is large, you’ll be offered to start with MVP (the basic version). That’s how the project will be released faster. Besides, it will be possible to try the project in use and to get users’ feedbacks.
After the basic version is described, an appropriate expert is involved in the process. For example, a development of a banking app. It certainly includes a personal account, credit cards and transactions info. Obviously, this will be provided by the developer who has an experience in such technologies.
There is a list of basic functions with fixed man-hours that makes the estimation faster. They don’t come out of the blue, these are results of experience and real projects.
Integrations are estimated separately. A mobile banking app works in connection with online banking, CRM-system and online chat. That’s why a back-end developer will be engaged in choosing the best integration method.
After all of this a development team will be formed and the possible start-up will be appointed. Staff time is counted in hours and multiplied by rate. Average terms of work are estimated depending on developers’ business and the amount of man-hours.
Something Went Wrong…
Unfortunately, statistics shows that only less than 10% of larger and less than half of small projects are released on schedule.
Developers Do Not Know How to Estimate?
Not exactly. Often they estimate a perfect scenario.
In fact it happens that the server has crashed, the documentation has become out of date, the developer has got sick or fired and they had to engage new staff in the project. The estimation grows from X to X+Y hours, and the price increased too. Nobody will like this.
And then a customer decides to add 2 more functions. They were not estimated and there’s a need to re-estimate. So the price increases again.
For sure, causes may differ. The point is that unexpected situations appear in 97% of projects.
Why Do We Need to Estimate At All?
Thanks to an estimation a customer can:
- Know the terms and average price of functions he needs.
- Examine the company: how relations are established and what is prepared.
- Assess skills: what questions do they ask, is there a relevant experience, is there an interest in the project.
- See the efficiency: if the answer comes in a week in the start, than what will be later?
How to Get the Maximum Profit From the Estimation
- Get the rate. If the rate is high and the total price is low then something was missed during the estimation.
- Learn are there any testers, analysts and managers in the team. To make a product the written code is not enough.
- Describe the project in details. Give technical requirements, mockups, schemes. The more detailed your requirements are the more proper estimation will be.
- Check again if all the functions you want to get in the app are estimated.
It is not easy to develop a mobile app. A person far from IT sphere may get easily confused and get failed. And his brilliant idea will never turn into reality. But if you follow the description above you’ll meet all the challenges much easier.
Hope that this information is useful. Don’t be afraid to realize your most heady ambitions!