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How Long Is Your Custom Software Going To Take?

Besides cost, this is the second most common question asked. Find out how long the typical custom software project takes to design, build and launch.

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What Factors Impact Delivery Schedules?

Custom software development is notoriously tricky to estimate with accuracy. Microsoft was multiple years off with their schedules when launching Windows 10, and they have unlimited resources. So why is custom software so hard to estimate? First, nobody really knows what they want. This isn't a knock on anyone. The last time we built a new MyProgrammer website (the one you are on now), I literally changed my mind and the direction of the content several times. Custom software is a very creative endeavor. The more you participate in it, and the more you understand what is possible, well the ideas and changes just sort of start flowing. Trying to estimate the cost, and the timeline under this situation is challenging, at best. So how do we figure out how long your project is going to take?

Estimate What We Know:

Unless we are going to throw darts or take wild guesses, we need to start with what we know about your project. How many features will your project need? How complex are they? Do we have any code from another project that we can leverage? We start estimating all of those items using something called function point analysis. Add up the hours required, then multiple by the rate. Sounds simple, right?

Estimating What We Don't Know:

If our estimates only included what we know, we would blow every estimate by a wide margin. So we need to consider what we don't know. For example, is this a brand new project or based on a previous version? If it is brand new, there will be a lot more unexpected items that pop up, so we need to add a buffer to our estimates. We also need to add a buffer to all the known items as well, because they have a tendency for "scope creep" as well.

Estimate Complexity:

Next, we need to consider how complex your industry, business and software project are. If your project is related to finance, for example, and is heavily calculation and formula based, that is going to require more time to analyze and build than say a typical e-commerce website. So we need to add a buffer for work that we know is going to take longer.

Okay, How Long Is This Going To Take?

First, the only way to know for sure is to have us review your project requirements, and then estimate the schedule. It is free. But let's give you some really rough time-frames.

Based on projects we've worked on over the past few years, the typical project usually takes 3 to 6 months to complete, but your project may be very different. Of course, we also work on the occasional 2 week project, not to mention those multi-year engagements, but both of those situations are not very common.

Okay, I hope you found this information helpful. To find out how long your project is going to take, go ahead and click the link below to get on my calendar. I look forward to chatting with you, and good luck with your custom software project!

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