A good quality and accurate estimate for your custom software project can improve the overall success of the design and plan. A good project estimate provides you with realistic expectations for the expected cost of the project, a timeline, risk assessments, and assumptions of the success of the software solution, and will help build a strong relationship between you and the solution developer.
On the other hand, a project that has been poorly planned and estimated can significantly affect these expectations and can cause project delays and threaten the value of the solution.
If you are contemplating working with a software developer to create a custom software project, there are some steps that you should consider following to ensure that you are obtaining the best estimate possible.
In turn, the estimate puts you in the best possible position for the success of your software project.
Here are the top tips to ensure that you receive a good quality estimate for your proposed software solution.
When you are looking for a custom software solution for your business, you need to be clear to the developer as to what it is that you want, and explain to them how you see the proposed solution working for you. It’s also helpful for the developer to understand how you’re dealing with the issue now, contrasting that with how the software solution will change things for you.
If you are pursuing particular business opportunities, or have specific requirements for the solution, you also need to explain those to the developer.
This process, sometimes called “discovery”, may involve multiple meetings with the developer, and provide them with any forms or other documentation. Depending on the amount of research, time and other resources that are required for this part of the process, discovery can come with a fee or may be done at no charge.
This discovery process should produce results that outline a detailed custom software estimate and, in some cases, a proposed project plan. This will also involve other details of the plan such as the expected cost and the date of completion.
Our top tips for receiving a quality custom software estimate
Make sure the developers understand what you want:
Upon your initial meeting with any software developer or solution vendor, you need to accurately and openly discuss what you want to achieve from your custom software project.
The most successful way to communicate this is to come prepared with a full list of your requirements, your expectations, and any other material that will establish what you want to achieve.
Even if you’re unsure about the details of what you would like to achieve, you understand better than anyone how your business works, and you probably have concrete ideas about how the proposed software solution will work for your users, and if there are any problems with the current way you’re performing the tasks that you want the custom software solution to fix.
The software developer will work with you to interpret your objectives and discuss the ways in which you can work together to achieve your goal.
However, it is important to note that this process can be time-consuming and thus will come with an additional fee that will increase your costs.
In order to have the most cost-effective solution, you should come well-prepared with all of the relevant materials that will best communicate your software solution needs.
Know your budget and timeline restrictions:
The main objectives of a good custom software estimate is the early determination of whether the proposed solution will meet your timeline and budget expectations.
You need assess the developer’s proposed software solution and cost, and evaluate that against the investment return it will give you and your budget.
If you have limited and strict timeline and budget restrictions, then the developer may be able to tailor their proposed solution to meet these objectives, but you need to consider the trade-offs that may have to be made to meet your requirements.
Separate the software solution into phases:
Although you will know what your proposal can do for your business once it has been fully implemented, there can sometimes be opportunities for you to receive value for your business sooner than expected.
This is achieved by the solution developer presenting a subset of the solution that, when working alone, can provide you with significant value.
This involves splitting up the complete solution into phases. Each phase is worked on in increments and delivered to you over a span of time, which can decrease your initial costs and you can start receiving benefits sooner. This process can also reduce any risks that are associated with the software project, although it may involve some trade-offs.
Play an active part in the software project:
A good software estimate will allocate time for the frequent and consistent communication that is needed between the stakeholders of the business and the developers during the project. This may seem like a large time commitment on your behalf, however, if you want to ensure that your needs and wants are met, it is vital.
A good custom software estimate will ensure a successful implementation of your software solution. To ensure that you receive the best, most precise and the most economical software estimate for your business, follow the tips we have outlined and your business will be sure of a successful project!
If you are looking for a quality estimate for your custom software solution, or would simply like to discuss your next project, contact ASP Microcomputers on 9578 7600.