A proper estimating of web development projects and tasks is the basis for the project development. Usually, during this process, you can understand how well the company developer suits your expectations according to the estimates. But you can influence these estimates. All that is required of you is to approach the preparation of a statement of work But you can influence these estimates. All that is required of you is to responsibly approach the preparation of a Request For Proposal (RFP) or a Statement Of Work (SOW) for the developers. Below, we’ll explain the techniques of project estimating. Some of them are comparatively fast, and others are more accurate.
5 techniques of estimating web development projects
#1 Analogous Estimating
To estimate the duration and costs of the project, the developers might use the historical data recorded for the development of a similar project. It means that if you come to us with the task to create a landing page for your product, we can immediately tell you about your project estimating because we have already faced such tasks.
This method is used in the early stages of the project when only certain documentation is available. This is a good way to quickly estimate a project, but the accuracy of the assessment can cardinally be changed as soon as a team gets more details (requirements).
- A quick evaluation of the project
- Saving the development and management time
- A large deviation, which can reach 50-100%
The meaning of this technique is simple. For example, you create 3 conditional project sizes (S, M, L) like in a size grid of T-shirts. “S” means that you want us to create a single-page site. “M” is an online store with 10 service pages and up to 1000 products. And “L” is an online store with 10 pages of service, up to 5000 products, with online chat and blog, articles of which will automatically be published on all social networks. Of course, the number of sizes can be larger. Just start with your business needs. Now, when you ask us to create a landing page or an online store, our manager can immediately give an approximate evaluation of the project.
- A very quick response, which is important for some customers.
- When all sizes are set, this technique saves a lot of management time.
- The estimate is approximate with the 20-50% of accuracy.
- The development company has to create dimensions for all the niches and business services in advance.
#3 Parametric Estimating
This method is very similar to the number 1 – “Similar Estimating”, but it slightly improves the accuracy of the estimate, because the evaluation of the project occurs in parts.
A client asked to create a website with a main page in the Landing Page style, the contact pages, news, warranty/return, and delivery. There are 5 pages in total. Now a manager needs to find the figures in the estimates history, which match to each of the 5 pages separately. Then he summarizes all the figures and sends the proposal to the client.
- A quick evaluation of the project
- Saving development and management time
- Deviation – 20-50%
#4 3-point Estimating
The principle of this method is that when evaluating each task, the specialists use three types of estimates:
a = the best-case estimate
m = the most likely estimate
b = the worst-case estimate
*All estimates are based on the previous experience or educated best-guesses
Let’s take the same 5 pages from the previous method:
- Landing Page (Main page) : a – 15h; m – 20h; b – 25h.
- Contact page: a – 5h; m – 10h; b – 15h.
- News page: a – 10h; m – 15h; b – 20h.
- Warranty/return page: a – 5h; m – 10h; b – 15h.
- Delivery page: a – 5h; m – 10h; b – 15h.
The next step is to choose the formula for calculating the estimates for each task. There are three formulas but we need to pick only one ET formula to use.
The simplest one is:
ET = (a + m + b) / 3
ET = (a + 4m + b) / 6
The Weighted with SD:
E = (a + 4m + b) / 6
SD = (b – a) / 6
ET = E + 2 x SD
The most commonly used formula is the weighted one, but you can use any of them.
Let’s calculate ET by weighted formula for our case:
- Landing Page (Main page) : (15 + 20 * 4 + 25) / 6 = 20h
- Contact page: (5 + 10 * 4 + 15) / 6 = 10h
- News page: (10 + 15 * 4 + 20) / 6 = 15h
- Warranty/return page: (5 + 10 * 4 + 15) / 6 = 10h
- Delivery page: (5 + 10 * 4 + 15) / 6 = 10h
Now we need to summarize the figures. Total – 65h.
- The project estimate is more accurate. Deviation – 20-30%
- Identification of the worst case number leads to discovering other hidden problem areas.
- It is psychologically easier for developers to provide three numbers, as there is less pressure of “getting it wrong”.
- Leaving the final calculated estimate visible might lead to development team adjusting their initial estimates.
- 3-point estimation requires more time than other methods.
The meaning of this technique is to divide each task into smaller ones. When using Bottom-Up Estimating, the development team needs to have a clear SOW, project structure (pages, functions, etc.) and a drawn design.
Let’s again take the 5 pages mentioned earlier. And now we will try to break the main page into smaller tasks: header, footer, adjoining block, selling block, call to action and a widget “call me back.” It looks more accurate, doesn’t it? Further, we need to create the same table as in 3-point estimation and calculate everything by the formula.
- It is the most accurate method from all presented. Deviation – 10-20%.
- During the fragmentation of the task into smaller ones, the developers can define new tasks that could not be identified when using other estimation techniques.
- This is the most labor-intensive method among all the presented ones. The estimation can take up to 1-2 weeks.
- For this method, you must have a precise SOW, a clear project structure, and a ready design.
You have learned the most popular techniques for estimating the duration and cost of projects in web development. Now it will be easier for you to determine and check the estimation of your developer. We also recommend that you evaluate the project from different development companies, so you will find the most beneficial for you.
If you have a project for which you want to calculate the value, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will schedule a call at a time convenient to you and then provide estimates with the average rates on the market.