How to Estimate Software Development Time?
Table of Content
- Why Time Estimation for Software Development is Necessary?
- How can Software Estimation Be Useful for Both — Team & Client?
- Factors that bring Challenges in Software Development Time Estimation
- Steps for Good Software Development Time Estimation
When any custom software development company handles various projects at one time, finishing it on a pre-decided time & budget becomes very difficult. Therefore, IT companies now follow a trend of estimating the software development time before they start working on it. This helps them in understanding the project and the issues that might occur while developing it. And then they can work accordingly. In this blog, we will learn more about time estimation and how it is done.
Why Time Estimation for Software Development is Necessary?
At the software development planning stage, estimations are very useful as they give a realistic scale of the time, effort, and resources required in a specific phase of the project. The reasons for estimations can be -
- Time Required
- Number of Team Members Required
- Budget Range
How can Software Estimation Be Useful for Both — Team & Client?
Let us see how software estimations provide value to both clients and the developing team.
- For Client: Time estimation provides information about the approximate time that is required to complete the project. It is important when the project deadline is strict. Besides, the estimations also provide the cost range of the software development and this makes the client know the budget information at the worst and the best time.
- For Software Development Team: Software development time estimation helps the developers to delineate the scope of the work and set the deadline accordingly for the team members. It also defines the number of required software developers, designers, and testers for the project. Besides this, time estimation helps to plan the metrics of the project by using Kanban Metrics or Velocity Metrics.
Factors that bring Challenges in Software Development Time Estimation
Here are some of the factors that might affect the time estimation process and bring challenges for the team of a custom software development company.
1. Developers & Designers Availability
When the required number of software developers or designers aren’t available for the creation of any project, there are 90% chances of the project being delayed. This can affect your time estimation when at the beginning of the project the software development service providers have assured you more members in the development team but later not all members are working for your project. In such scenarios, the project will not be ready as per the estimated time.
2. Constant Change in Requirements
The change in project requirements makes it difficult to stick to the estimated time. And to avoid this, every software development company should first create a Requirement Specification Document, or else the estimation can go wrong.
3. Irregular Software Testing
When the software is not tested from day one, the delay is always observed. This is because once the product is delivered, resolving the bugs becomes more difficult and takes more time than usual.
Steps for Good Software Development Time Estimation
When we talk about having a good software development time estimation, it is connected with a lot of factors. The understanding of the project and its processes makes time estimation easy. Here we will go through some of the points that can be considered as a good software development time estimation practice.
- Scope of Project
Defining the scope of the project is very essential. But doing it with Agile practice makes it more vital. The idea of the project scope is to identify the functionalities of the project and making sure that it doesn’t remain only in your mind but also on paper as a requirement specification. Besides, including your software development team in defining the scope is very important as they are the ones who are going to be working on it.
2. Estimate the Efforts for Software Development
While estimating the effort of software development, counting the working hours is very important. Especially when the project size is huge. But when there are complexities or uncertainties in the software development process, then additional time may be invested by the software developers in order to provide an exceptional product. Besides, if you want to avoid such situations where the time estimation goes wrong, then it is better to use Agile methodologies and get relative estimates. This also helps in figuring the things that may go wrong in advance and according to it, you can estimate the effort of development.
3. Provide Rough Time Estimates
In time estimation, velocity is something that showcases the number of efforts every software engineer puts to complete the task in a specific time. To calculate this, the software development team uses sprints and determines the points which specify the rough estimation of the time that can be taken by the developers.
4. Don’t Forget to Add Buffers
When you estimate the software development time and later it takes longer than you estimated then your estimation will not be as perfect as you expected it to be. And for situations like that, you should keep some buffer time. This means that you have to count some extra time.
5. Complexity of Project
While estimating the software development time, just make sure that you count the complexities to make sure that the estimation doesn’t go in vain. Besides, it saves the cost inquired for estimating the software development time.
As seen in this blog, the decision of how much time software development will take depends on the size and the functionalities of the software project. Factors like no. of features pages, dates & location integration, level of UI, analytics, Users & Accounts integration, CMS, social media integration, security, billing and eCommerce, and External APIs & Integrations will affect the software development time estimation. For any custom software development company, it is advisable to consider the history and the past experience of the project if you are currently going to work on something similar to that. This will enable the software developers to make sure that the requirements and the project flow are all going perfectly fine.
And while estimating the time of the current project, do keep some buffer time even after getting the reference from old projects. Try to keep the estimation more realistic. Besides, the software development companies also need to understand that their developers and designers only have two hands, so prioritizing the tasks and communicating well will lead towards the success of the project.