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   ► KBPrestwood I.T.Client ExtranetCoding ServicesNew Client AreaPSDP Step 1-...   Print This     
  From the January 2008 Issue of Prestwood eMag
 
Client PSDP Step 1-Discovery:
PSDP: About Estimating
 
Posted 12 years ago on 3/9/2007 and updated 1/7/2008
Take Away: Estimating the time to develop an entire project at the beginning of a project is a tricky task because of too many unknown variables.

KB100461



About Estimating

Estimating the time to develop an entire project at the beginning of a project is a tricky task because of too many unknown variables. Whether you have a loosely defined project or a specific series of tasks, here is the process we go through to give you an estimate.

  1. Create Ticket
    If your request didn't come through our online ticket system, Prestwood Software will create a ticket. This ticket is used to track the project until completed or cancelled. That ticket is visible and editable by you in your My Tickets page.
     
  2. Add a PSDP Online DB
    Prestwood Software then promotes the ticket to a PSDP Online project so we can use our PSDP Online database to gather information about your company, the application, and this project. This online database is also used to track tasks and defects. We also use it to store information and help with the process by documenting requirements, design, coding conventions, GUI standards, builds, test scripts, and more. How much of these features we use depends on the size of the project. For small projects, we tend to use just a few of them and for larger projects we use more. As time goes on, we'll archive more and more information to it. You have 100% visibility to the data and can edit much of the data (saves money and makes reviews easy). The custom software is YOUR intellectual property and the PSDP Online database is part of your institutional memory. Institutional memory is sometimes important to investors and it's always important with future development.
     
  3. Discover Known Tasks
    We need to discover enough information to establish the initial tasks. We do a certain amount of this for free but will let you know when we need to charge you for the work. The work we do is part of the project and generally includes analysis, requirements gathering, some high level design, and sometimes even some detail design. Occasionally, this phase may include some proof of concepts. For example, with one of our clients we did a proof of concept where we communicated with an LED sign from here in Sacramento over the internet through a UDS-10 device to an LED sign in Boston. When it came time to start coding, that code was cleaned up and rolled into the final source code.

    Note If you have any documentation (a requirements or design specification or something else), please send that to us at your earliest possible moment.
     
  4. Decide on Approach
    For larger projects, we may ask you to break it up into phases so we can peel the onion one comfortable layer at a time. We will document all known tasks in our PSDP Online database and then may ask you to authorize the completion of a portion of them at a time. In general, this is a comfortable approach for both us and you. You can always see the tasks you've authorized and if new tasks are discovered, you will see them too as well as the updated total hours of the project.

    Note For Fixed Bids, the ONLY thing that matters is a complete and precise description of deliverables. Each deliverable should clearly define what we are delivering and have a set price. If you ask for something beyond or different than the description of deliverable, we need to issue a change order even if the change involves NO change in price. For a fixed bid, you must provide us with a complete and precise description of each deliverable and we'll be happy to give you a quote for each item. If an item is not complete and precise, we will either decline to give you a price or we will pad the price. Deliverables that are defined more completely and precisely will have less padding but in general fixed bids will ALWAYS cost you more than T&M.
     
  5. Estimate / Establish Budget
    The next step is to estimate the entire project and establish an initial budget. We base this estimate on the known tasks and on past similar projects we've completed. This step is always free.
     
  6. Sign Agreement
    If you have an open Support Account, we can simply use that. Optionally, we can give you a separate formal software development agreement. If a formal proposal desired, we can also provide that as well.

Estimating the time to develop an entire project at the beginning of a project is a tricky task because of too many unknown variables. Whether you have a loosely defined project or a specific series of tasks, here is the process we go through to give you an estimate.

  1. Create Ticket
    This ticket is used to track the project until completed or cancelled.
     
  2. Add a PSDP Online DB
    Prestwood Software then promotes the ticket to a PSDP Online project so we can use our PSDP Online database to gather information about your company, the application, and this project. This online database is also used to track tasks and defects.
     
  3. Discover Known Tasks
    We need to discover enough information to establish the initial tasks. We do a certain amount of this for free but will let you know when we need to charge you for the work.
     
  4. Decide on Approach
    For larger projects, we may ask you to break it up into phases so we can peel the onion one comfortable layer at a time.
     
  5. Estimate / Establish Budget
    The next step is to estimate the entire project and establish an initial minimum budget.
     
  6. Sign Agreement
    If you have an open development Support Account, we can simply use that.

More Info

KB Post:  PSDP: About Quality
KB Post:  PSDP: Discovery Overview
KB Post:  PSDP: Step 2 Planning Overview (Gen & Design Phases)
KB Post:  PSDP: Step 3 Building Step Overview
KB Post:  PSDP: Step 4 Delivery Overview

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KB Post Contributed By Mike Prestwood:

Mike Prestwood is a drummer, an author, and creator of the PrestwoodBoards online community. He is the President & CEO of Prestwood IT Solutions. Prestwood IT provides Coding, Website, and Computer Tech services. Mike has authored 6 computer books and over 1,200 articles. As a drummer, he maintains play-drums.com and has authored 3 drum books. If you have a project you wish to discuss with Mike, you can send him a private message through his PrestwoodBoards home page or call him 9AM to 4PM PST at 916-726-5675 x205.

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