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integration and implementation of technology-focused business solutions

October 2017

Understanding software estimates based on time

October 17th, 2017

We previously explained that a realistic budget based on a realistic understanding of the product is the best recipe for a realistic estimate.

However, budget is not the only consideration. You also have to consider the time that it will take to complete a project and how your request for proposal can influence time.

Some features require more work to add

You may want that special software feature for your business, but in reality, that feature is step 6 out of 10. Other software functionality needs to be built before the feature you want can be used. More steps mean more time. More time means more money.

This is a big reason why it doesn’t make sense for a software company to quote a block of hours without both the estimator and customer having a complete understanding of the project needs.

In some cases, customers don’t know how much time is involved. That’s why estimating hours for a project is difficult, and why you shouldn’t consider an estimate set in stone.

More people doesn’t equal less time

There’s a myth out there that adding more people on a project will reduce the amount of time it takes to complete. That’s not the case. Typically the issue is not that there aren’t enough people doing the work. The issue is the complexity of the work requested.

Deadlines and timelines don’t always match

The most difficult part of estimating a project is matching our customers’ deadlines with the amount of time that it will take to complete a project.

Sometimes, these deadlines are aligned with time-sensitive needs, but completing the project in its entirety might overrun that deadline.

In these cases, customers must either push out their deadline or be okay with launching software that isn’t fully built out.

It’s important to choose a technology partner that values open dialogue about such projects so both parties know what’s required for successful and timely completion.

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How to stay on budget with software upgrades

October 3rd, 2017

Estimating is one of the most difficult parts of our job. There’s natural tendency to treat estimates like promises. And in the software business, there are many reasons why a project might end up more expensive than estimated.

Here are a few things for customers to keep in mind when approaching a major software project. Understanding what features you need, knowing what you can afford, and being open to suggestions from an IT provider can make life a lot easier.

Know what you can afford

The key to getting the software you need and not breaking the bank is to be realistic about your budget.

It’s easy to put down on paper what you’d like to have. But in the software business, where you can’t touch or see what it is that you’re asking for, there’s a tendency to overshoot. Features sound simple enough to add, but each feature adds on cost and time.

Be open to change

Like a custom-built home, each feature that you add costs more money. If you’re flexible enough to know the difference between a must-have and a nice-to-have, you can get the most bang for your buck.

In some cases, features that you thought were necessary might prove too expensive. And in the long run, you may be able to get all that you need without those features. We work with our customers to decide what they need and what they could do without.

It’s important for our customers to be flexible. Otherwise, projects tend to go over budget and take longer to complete.

Don’t set an estimate in stone

Remember that ultimately an estimate is an estimate. Start with a realistic budget, but understand that there’s always a chance work will take longer and cost more than was originally planned.

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