Estimating software development cost is a challenging task. Often, it is not enough to answer the question - how much does the average software development cost? Thorough assessment influences a number of parameters and can determine every step of the way the developers need to take. Thus, the right software development cost estimation is a crucial part of every project. If you want to assess the software development cost of your project most properly, here’s what you need to pay attention to.
Six Important Factors to Consider Behind Software Development Cost
The parameters you need to pay attention to for software development cost analysis vary widely. Some are obvious and determined. However, there also are fluctuating and hidden variables. Let’s review the most important aspects of a software development cost calculator.
1. Work Hours Spent
Time is the most valuable resource for any project. In software development, the value of this variable can vary from mere minutes to days or months. As is the case in other fields, the work hours the team spends on the project directly affect its cost.
While this seems straightforward at first glance, the correct estimation of time has its own pitfalls. Particularly, it depends on a number of parameters, such as:
- A wrongful assumption that the project work time linearly correlates with the number of people working on a project (quality & expertise should be prevalent);
- Overall complexity of each task (how much experties & which tools they require);
- General scope of work (the approximate lengths & widths of the whole development project);
- Unforeseen mistakes & circumstances (make sure to add some extra work hours from the get-go to avoid suffering much from those).
2. Complexity and Work Amount
This point is dependent entirely on the information provided by the customer. To estimate the cost of software code development services, you need to find out what the end product is expected to look like.
To determine the scope of the work for the most proper IT software development cost analysis, you need to:
- have an in-depth understanding of how each part of the software should function & look. The more information you get, the better plan you will be able to put together;
- set up boundaries based on the technical limits & the level of your employees’ expertise;
- define initial terms, conditions, & requirements based on what you already know & have at the beginning;
- set main project objectives by the principle of posing an issue & offering a way to solve it;
- define milestones, such as the project development start & finish, as well as its general phases, by which you’ll be able to conveniently track the overall progress;
- individualize tasks - you need to subdivide general objectives into more individual ones for each respective expert to handle;
- establish the desired deliverables - what you want to see as a result of the finished project (both in technical & conceptual terms, i.e., what exactly should be implemented in the end - simple usable code or file of a certain format or mockup).
3. Personnel Needed
The more experts you need on the job, the more resources you need to provide them with. However, it can be challenging to determine the exact number of developers needed. One task can become so specific and unusual that it might need a special expert to solve. For a first guess of how much does software development cost, divide the project into general steps and estimate the team you will need for each of them.
There are also specialized platforms and services to help you handle personnel selection properly, like:
- Zoho People - a well-tried-and-tested, integratable with practically any existing system software solution from the renowned CRM provider. Fits small to medium organizations best.
- freeHR - a cost-efficient solution for smaller establishments with a practically limitless free plan.
- Sentrifugo - open-source, downloadable feature-rich software to fit all business sizes from small and medium to large.
Each solution is absolutely free in its core version and offer paid plans optionally with more features and additions.
If the developing team is spread across multiple countries, the correct software development cost assessment becomes almost impossible. Employees in different locations require different payments depending on the average fee in the country. In developing countries, the offshore software development cost calculation is even more difficult, with each company having its own set of rules. In such a case, be sure to find an optimal way to efficiently manage and communicate with employees remotely.
The specialized platforms intended just for that will help you, such as:
- Slack - an excellent renowned solution for in-house management and communication you can effortlessly register an account in & start working in a common virtual workplace right now;
- Microsoft Teams - a virtual office hub addition to Office 365 that can help you bring all your employees together in a single optimized environment through the efficient remote communication means;
- Rocket Chat - a free, open-source platform that claims right on its homepage that it can reasonably replace your regular email, HipChat, & Slack.
5. Extra Expenditures
The extras depend both on the specifics of your project and the specifics of your team. While each software development cost estimation example is unique in this regard, there are some usual suspects. For example:
- Maintenance costs;
- Security upgrades;
- Training fees;
- Additional testing;
- Infrastructure costs.
6. Status Quo Fee
While it often seems tempting to cut corners both during the estimation and during the development, it can often cost you more in hidden costs. Cheaper hardware and software tools can result in time lost due to glitches or even worse – data breaches.
Results and Discussion
So, we’ve narrowed down the most common and persistent issues and found the points that you need to pay attention to. Another question that stands next to how to calculate the software development cost is how to adhere to the estimation. It can be answered in the following steps:
1. Have proper tools for management and maintenance;
2. Ensure the use of relevant software development techniques;
3. Hire a team of professionals for each step of development, including the maintenance;
4. Create a comprehensive plan further into the future.
The whole procedure seems quite time-consuming and complex, which is truly so. That’s what qualified, profiled experts are there for - you can simply formulate your major goals, requirements, and tasks, leaving all the rest to us and avoiding cumbersome procedures you aren’t experienced in as of yet.
There are a lot of ways a software development process can go wrong. Some of them can be easily accounted for while the others are unforeseeable. That’s why any custom software development cost analysis is tricky. While any estimation has a chance to fail, by paying attention to the right elements and leaving enough leeway, there is a way to overcome this obstacle. Still, any assessment should be performed by an expert with hands-on experience. So, if you’re not sure – refer to a professional and check your project every step of the way.