Developing software can be expensive, so it’s essential to plan and manage your project as efficiently as possible from the outset. This guide will teach you how to plan a software development project on a budget. It includes tips and resources for every stage of the process. So you can be sure to get your money’s worth out of every dollar spent on your custom software application.
How much does custom software development costs? What should you expect to pay when outsourcing your next project? And how can you keep your software development costs as low as possible? Here is the inside scoop on everything from hourly rates to hidden fees and everything in between.
Use Agile Methodology
Agile methodology is a great way to streamline the software development process while still being able to adapt as needed. This approach can help you save money on custom software development costs by allowing you to break the project down into smaller pieces. If necessary, each piece will cost less and be re-worked in an iterative process.
The key to successful custom software development projects with Agile methodology has an initial plan. It includes enough detail for the company and developers to work off of.
The success of this plan hinges on clear communication between all parties involved in the project. However, it also depends heavily on flexibility so that developers can react quickly, particularly if they need to change directions midway through a project.
Break Down Features into Tasks
When planning your software development project, breaking down the features you want into tasks is essential.
It will help you estimate custom software development costs more accurately. When you know what needs to be done and how long each task should take, it becomes easier to plan for timelines and allocate resources.
To ensure everything is going according to plan, create a timeline and track progress against this timeline with sticky notes or an online tool like Trello or Basecamp.
Finally, update your budget as needed by allocating funds for unforeseen expenses. Adjust your timeline if necessary based on any changes in scope or timeline.
You may also need to hire someone who can provide additional input during the process, so include money for that in your budget.
For example, assume you find out halfway through the process that the code requirements are different than anticipated and you need to hire new developers. In that case, add an extra $5-10k onto your initial budget estimates depending on the complexity of work involved and the time required.
If nothing else goes wrong, this might not be necessary, but it’s better to plan!
Sprints are an essential part of planning a software development project. They help you break down the task into manageable pieces, set deadlines, and track progress.
Plus, they can help you stay on budget by forcing you to focus on only the most essential tasks.
Here’s how to create sprints for your next project:
1) Determine what needs to be done. Your sprint should have a clear goal defined in both outcome and deadline (the shorter, the better). For example: Build API Documentation
2) Draw up a timeline. You’ll need to establish when each task needs to be completed, so make sure everything is organized by date or in order of importance. Be realistic about timelines–don’t bite off more than you can chew.
3) Decide who will work on each task. Divide the work equally as possible to avoid overworking any one person. It will increase stress levels and decrease productivity. If a few people are working together, identify who will take responsibility for which tasks
4) Create a plan detailing exactly what needs to happen during each sprint to meet its goals
5) Establish accountability. When someone doesn’t complete their assigned task in time or slacks off while other people do all the work, it puts everyone else behind schedule and causes unnecessary stress
6) Track progress against goals
7) Repeat steps 4-6 until all sprints are complete
Estimate with Story Points, Not Time
Many factors estimate the time it will take to complete a project. But one of the most important is understanding how much work is involved.
It is where story points come in. Story points measure the relative size and complexity of a task.
And they’re beneficial for software development projects. It is because they can help you estimate the time and budget for a project on a more granular level.
First, divide your total number of hours by your hourly rate.
For example, if it takes 100 hours to complete a project, divide that by $60/hour to get $1 per hour or 120 story points per hour (1:120).
That would be the cost if you were working with someone else.
It would be best if you also planned for contingencies like holidays, illnesses, client emergencies, and so forth by adding 20% or 80 story points ($0.80) per hour (1:80).
That brings us to $2 an hour ($2:120) as our total cost.
Now we know that at this rate, it would take 240 hours or 480 story points (480:120) – which translates into six weeks – to finish the project in total.
Get Estimates from Other Projects
When planning your software development project, one of the essential things you need to do is get cost estimates from other projects.
It will help you determine how much your project will cost and how long it will take. You should compare your project to other software projects of similar size and scope to get accurate estimates.
Make sure to include all the necessary features in your estimate, so you don’t end up over budget. For example, if your team needs to produce custom reports, ensure they are included in the estimated hours and costs.
If they aren’t included, they may be omitted during development or delayed until later in the project. But, again, this could cause more money to be spent.
Set a Team Goal
Setting a team goal is critical when working with a large team for software project development. This is what team members use to track progress and plan their work. You can use tools like Scrum boards to follow the various steps to achieve the set goals.
Here’s how to set up a scrum board for your next software development project:
- Decide what tasks need to be completed.
- Assign each task to a team member.
- Track progress with a burndown chart.
- Set up daily stand-up meetings.
- Use a retrospective to reflect on what went well and what could be improved.
- Celebrate milestones and keep everyone motivated. If you have more than one developer working on a project, having them work in pairs may also be helpful.
- Lastly, don’t forget about using time-tracking apps. It will help team members know exactly how much time they spend on different tasks throughout the day.
If you’re planning a software development project on a budget, you should keep a few things in mind.
First, be realistic about what you can accomplish with your resources.
Second, make sure you have a clear understanding of the scope of the project and what features are most important.
Third, create a detailed plan that includes milestones and deadlines.
Fourth, communicate with your team regularly to ensure everyone is on the same page. Fifth, be prepared to adjust your plans as needed.
Sixth, track your progress and celebrate your successes along the way.
And finally, don’t forget to enjoy the process!