What Do You Need to Start Project Estimation?

What Do You Need to Start Project Estimation?

Is project estimation critical in software development? Definitely yes. In this article, we will discuss the role of a detailed project estimation in your product’s success and share ways to facilitate this development stage.

Project estimation problematic

Successful web and mobile development begins much faster than actually undertaking complex technical tasks. Often, customers do not give their best shot to proper project estimation and, consequently, can’t formulate clear goals and expectations from the final product. 

Typically, you’d face generalized sets of requests that don’t describe any project specifications, nor do they explain the demand for this product in the market. Other times, clients try to copy a product’s functionality without analyzing the purpose of certain features. Such vague requests make selecting customized solutions and appropriate technological ways difficult. 

The truth is that even popular products aren’t perfect and can contain many excessive or unnecessary features. For example, the world’s favorite Salesforce still keeps functionality not being used by customers in any way. That’s why it’s essential to understand how exactly your product’s features will benefit the target audience.

At Softblues, we approach estimation thoughtfully and methodically to ensure the team’s complete readiness for the project’s specifications and challenges.

How to start the project estimation process?

We have repeatedly encountered clients’ blurry ideas about their final product in our practice. Thus, we’ve made a list of questions and instructions to help you understand whether you have a minimum basis for evaluating or developing your project.

1) Do you have the complete list of your product’s main features? 

Compile a list of the main features of your product, detailing its functionality and purpose. It should include descriptions such as “Page with all users with filtering by country and subscription plan.”

2) Do you have wireframes or at least mockups of these main features?

Ensure you can represent the user interface and functionality visually. It will help software engineers understand the complexity and effort required to build each feature.

3) Who will be responsible for the Product Owner role? 

Identify who will be responsible for the Product Owner role, as this person will be the primary decision-maker and accountable for prioritizing tasks and features.

4) Can you provide in-house business analysis, functional analysis, and project management expertise?

Assess whether you have sufficient in-house expertise. It will help determine if you need to hire external experts to assist in the estimation process.

5) Do you have a UIX designer?

Verify whether you have a UI/UX designer to ensure including the user interface and user experience during the estimation process.

6) Do you have your tech team: backend, frontend, QA, PM?

Determine if you have a dedicated tech team. This information will help estimate the required resources and availability for the project.

7) Who is your product’s main competitors, and why?

Identifying your product’s main competitors will help you understand the market landscape and benchmark your product’s features and performance. 

8) What is the project deadline, and why is this date important?

Establishing the project deadline will help prioritize tasks, allocate resources, and set realistic expectations for completion.

9) Are there preferable technologies for a project, and why?

Determine any preferred technologies to estimate the effort required to develop the project, as different technologies may require different levels of expertise and time.

Evaluating product potential

Sometimes, evaluating product potential may not affect your choices of technical solutions. However, determining the prospect of a product can give you a better understanding of the market and save a large part of the budget. Here are questions that can facilitate this task:

  1. What problem does your product solve? Is there a clear and urgent need for your solution in the market?
  2. Who is your target audience? Who are the potential customers for your product, and what are their pain points and needs?
  3. What is your unique value proposition? What sets your product apart from competitors, and what is the key benefit you offer customers?
  4. What is your business model? How do you plan to make money from your product, and what is the potential revenue stream?
  5. What is your marketing strategy? How do you plan to reach your target audience, and what channels will you use to promote your product?

We hope that the above practices will help you better determine the goals of your products and benefit your business in the long run.