One of the key elements to completing a project on time and within budget is a proper website estimate. The estimate helps us to get an eagle-eye view of the development of the website. What the client requires in the site, how to make that happen, and the timeframe involved. Poor analysis can mean missed deadlines and unexpected challenges, not to mention an uncomfortable level of stress for both the client and team.

That being considered, a good estimation is challenging. It could be difficult to predict everything that you’ll run into during development. However, if you have the right knowledge, you can simplify things and come to a more accurate result, saving time, energy and inconsistency.

A good estimate requires effective communication between client and team, a clear outline of the job, and enough experience to understand what it will take, both regarding work and time. The job has to be broken down into components so we can make a clear action plan and set up a reasonable schedule. Here’s a look at how we go about estimating a project and a few tips to ensure the process goes smoothly.

What Is Estimation?

An estimate is an overview of the project. We communicate with the client to find out what they want and need on their website. Look into the details, get an idea of the functionality required, and explore what it’s going to take to get the job done. When the estimate is finished, you’ll have an action plan for building the site and a reasonable idea of the timeframe required to make it happen.

Project Management Estimation: Best Practices

The most important aspect of an estimate is information. There are four steps to an estimate. We have to look into the size of the project, the workload, the schedule, and the expenses. In the process, we’ll go from a rough idea about what’s required to a clear and detailed layout of the steps required to create the site. This gives us a chance to think through the challenge points, find out how many people will be involved and what skills will be needed.

The first step is the size estimate. To estimate the size of the project, we have to visualize it. We have to take the structure of the website into account, consider the potential obstacles, and look into bottlenecks. This means talking to the client. Each site is unique, so it’s important to find out what the client wants and needs. All of the aspects of functionality should be made clear so that the estimate is based on solid ground. This is also when you look into the required documentation. It’s best if this step is documented in written form as well so that changes can be tracked and all required features are laid out clearly.

After you have an idea of what the project will need, the next step is to get an estimate of the workload. We look into the labor required for design, documentation, client interaction and process organization. We also have to take into account quality assurance and, if necessary, prototype implementation. As mentioned above, it’s important not to underestimate the time and work required. This could lead to missed deadlines, overworked technicians, and a lower quality product. None of that is good for the client’s successful website launch. At the same time, it’s unwise to overestimate too much. If you put forth too large a time frame, that won’t correspond to the reality and break up the loyalty and trust.

The third step that should be taken is to move on to the schedule. Since you have a clear idea of the steps involved in implementation, you know the number of people involved and how long it takes to complete each step. This lets us make a reasonable estimate of how many hours will be required for each task and then match that with availability. When this is done, we can set the project to calendar dates. This means that we can arrange a time for when the website is expected to be live.

Finally, you need to look into the expense involved to create the site. At this point, it’s important to remember that the cost of developing a website includes more than just development. Since many people are involved, a project manager is required to coordinate the workflow. Plus, it will need to be tested by the quality assurance to make sure the functionality is on track.

The expense estimate should reflect the value the team puts into the project plus it depends on the pricing model that was agreed before. If it is a fixed price, there should be a certain project cost. As for the dedicated team or outstaffing, there is a need for the development part, but not necessarily a project manager.

Our Estimation Approach

Here’s our approach on how to estimate project cost and time. It begins with an Analysis of Client Requirements and a comprehensive review of documentation gathered by the project manager. The developers, team leader, and project manager cooperate to provide a complete workup of what will be required to complete the project. They evaluate the project and set up a quote. This is done by setting up a task in Redmine. All client information is gathered, and a detailed description is created. The development team and team leader then studies the project carefully. It’s broken up into tasks, which are then evaluated and fit with estimates. A min-max plug is also provided by the development team.

Then, we move on to the next stage, putting together the commercial proposal. The client will receive a file listing the tasks and the hours required for each. The client reviews this and gets back to the project manager regarding the estimates and budget. Once the client approves the estimate, the project manager prepares the Commercial Proposal (CP). This document describes the project terms and company information. It includes an overview of the project, the platform involved, description of the scope, and the cost of the project. The additional aspects are the technical solutions, terms of payment, and details about our own company. The client is given everything they need to know to communicate effectively with the company and understand the development process.

How We Estimate Client’s RFP?

When a company needs to contract services for a project, they will create a document known as an RFP, or request for proposal. This gives the scope and details of the project and solicits bids from contractors. The RFP also contains a list of criteria by which a proposal will be evaluated. For the client, this helps them to find the right company for the job. For the contractor, the RFP will give us a rough idea of what’s required, so we know what to ask and how to approach the project.

In order to get a clear view on how to move forward, the next step is to ask questions. Once we receive an RFP, we’ll review it and then consult with the client about the details. We’ll have to refine our understanding of the functionality required and specific details regarding each portion of the project. Once we have enough information and have gone over all the essential details, we can provide an initial software development project cost estimation. We can go over the points and provide a solid response to the RFP, but a solid estimate will still require further communication with the client.

What Would Cooperation Look Like?

Once you’ve decided on a service provider, the next step is cooperation. When you work with us, the first thing we do is request parameters for budget and costs, as well as detailed information regarding the features and functionality of the site. This lets us know how many people will need to be involved and how to budget development expenses, and it provides an overview of the desired end product.

Our development team goes through this information, breaks the project down into functional pieces, and then provides estimates for each piece. This estimate effort project management is then sent back to the client for review. All quotes are discussed and we put together a solid estimate for both time and expenses. If the project requires a dedicated developer, we will then send you a list of CVs and arrange interviews so that you can be sure you have the right person for your project.

After getting the game plan solid, we launch into it. We set our developers to the task, coordinate them with the project manager, and then have our quality assurance department test each portion as it is finalized. We regularly consult with our clients on the development process, arranging planning sprints, delivery dates, and other relevant factors.

Each team member is encouraged to share openly about potential challenges, new developments, and anything else that might impact the final product. If changes in the estimate are necessary, they are published in-house and options are discussed with the client. The project is only complete when your site has all the functionality you need when it looks and works as you want it to. Finally, we provide site support after completion to work out any bugs that might have slipped under the radar and ensure complete client satisfaction.

Development Estimation

The developers, though not the only element in the development process, are still one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. They are the ones that do the coding, that understand the requirements to create the necessary functionality, and have the experience required to give accurate estimates for each portion of the project. Developer or a team can provide an excellent project estimator for the more technical aspects of site creation.

One of the keys to a good estimate is knowing how to break the project down into its parts. This is where the developers are helpful. They will know what is required for each step of the project. They’ll be able to look at each feature and aspect of functionality and divide it into workable tasks. Once the project has been broken into tasks, it can be effectively assessed to generate a solid estimate.

Project Management Approval

At this point, it’s pretty clear why cost estimation is important in project management. Cost estimation is actually the process that shows all of the elements involved in developing the project. This lets PM tap the appropriate personnel and set reasonable timetables. The project manager is the one responsible for the eagle-eye view of the project. Each developer handles their own small piece of the puzzle. However, the PM puts the puzzle together. They are the conductor of the symphony, arranging all the bits so that they fit together into a team. This is why project management approval is key to providing a solid estimate, both in terms of time and cost. They can look at all of the elements involved so that the overall project can be coordinated on schedule and within budget.

Summary

We’ve gone through the details of project estimation and looked into what you’ll need to know about it. Remember that information is the most important factor of the whole process. After you have a solid estimate, you’ll have a solid game plan for the project, knowing the steps that need to be taken from beginning to end, how much each step is likely to cost, and how long it is likely to take. Parting advice: Find a service provider that asks questions and provide the result. If they give a solid estimate after a verbal conversation or with minimal details, for sure, there will be an inconvenience in communication and further challenges. If you are looking for a reliable partner for your project, we’ll be glad to help you.
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