Trying to budget for software application development can be like nailing Jello to the wall. If you are too high, you may risk not getting funded, and if you are too low, you might not achieve your objective. It seems like it will always be a smaller and simpler project than it ends up being, with an inherent risk of not estimating enough money to meet your goals.
Experts at Augusto Digital, who pride themselves in helping organizations turn their application software vision into reality, have outlined the top decision points which shape the development cost. They have created twelve multiple-choice questions that segment the project’s complexity that must be considered upfront when determining funding requirements. The questions focus on the following:
- What is the starting point for the project?
- Do you already have a finished user interface design, or does one need to be created?
- How robust do you expect the finished application to be?
- Compliance requirements?
- Where do you want users to interact with this application, web browser, mobile web browser, or iOS?
- Are there “back-end” services needed?
- Does the new application need to integrate with existing databases or systems?
- Is payment processing required?
- Do you want dashboards to monitor the application?
- Login requirements?
These issues can add complexity and often be overlooked entirely in the design and estimating phase. Still, by reviewing them before the work begins, you can better estimate the cost and ensure you have articulated each of the elements to create the application that will meet your goals and be compatible with systems you already have in place. For example, one area that is often overlooked is reporting. We are so focused on the application that we don’t think about how we will monitor it. The dashboards are often forgotten until the application is turned on, and you want stats on the new application, but you forgot to create a dashboard.
Other critical elements like the robustness of the finished product will influence cost and time to develop; you need to decide do you want an MVP or all the bells and whistles on the first iteration. Compliance requirements like HIPAA, Integration requirements, and user interface are among the things that will add cost to the project but are necessary to consider in the design and estimating phase.
Identifying the critical requirements in defining your new application is half the battle but understanding the cost implications of the decision points is also necessary to budget accurately. To that end, the clever folks at Augusto Digital have created an estimator tool that takes your design decisions and matches the development requirements to their database of hundreds of quotes to give you a realistic range to make your vision and take you from design to production.
If this tool can help you, head to the Agile Estimator to help you get a realistic price range to discuss with funders.