Costing & Estimating your custom software development project

How to prevent scope creep and get an accurate estimate for your project

March 23, 2023

To successfully estimate the cost and timeline for a custom software development project, many successful development companies use the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) estimation method. PERT is a statistical tool that helps to estimate the time required to complete a project by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable tasks.

The PERT method involves breaking down the project into individual tasks or sub-projects, and estimating the time required for each task to be completed. These estimates are then used to determine the overall project duration and cost. PERT uses three estimates for each task: the optimistic estimate, the most likely estimate, and the pessimistic estimate. These three estimates are used to calculate a weighted average for each task, which provides a more accurate estimate of the time required.

Using PERT estimation can help software development companies to identify potential risks or challenges that could arise during the project and create contingency plans to manage these risks. PERT estimates can also help companies to identify areas where resources may be required, allowing them to allocate their resources more effectively and efficiently.

However, it is important to note that PERT estimation is not foolproof, and there are limitations to its accuracy. Factors such as unforeseen circumstances, changes in project requirements, and unexpected delays can all impact the accuracy of PERT estimates. Therefore, it is important to continually review and update estimates throughout the project to ensure they remain accurate and reflect any changes in circumstances.

In addition to PERT estimation, successful custom software development companies also use a range of other tools and techniques to manage project costs and timelines. These can include Agile methodologies, which allow for iterative development and regular feedback from clients, as well as project management software such as Jira, Asana, and Trello, which provide a centralized platform for managing tasks, timelines, and resources.

In conclusion, costing and estimating custom software development projects can be a complex and challenging process, but by using tools and techniques such as PERT estimation, Agile methodologies, and project management software, companies can increase their chances of success. By accurately estimating project timelines and costs, companies can better manage resources, identify potential risks, and deliver high-quality software solutions that meet the specific needs of their clients.