Software Development Effort: How much does it takes to do Project and Product Development in Net development


Estimates Everywhere


How long does it usually take to get yourself to work? Does it take up too much of your precious time? Are you sure that tomorrow you will spend the same amount of time or less to get to your work? Most likely not, since there are dozens of factors that can affect your travel time, such as route, traffic, weather, or any other considerations. When referring to a short distance, the difference may not be significant. Nevertheless, if you thought about traveling to a completely different city or country, the cost would be unimaginable.

Nobody has the right to intervene in your personal matters such as your commuting time, which is your own business. The circumstances are different at work where you are not only dependent on yourself, but others also depend on you. Here your ability to deliver results in a timely manner is very important. In this case, accurate time/effort estimates are critical to your company's success.

According to reports, Dot net development is one of the top services to be outsourced to outside contractors, with total contract values ranging between $62.5 billion and $156.1 billion worldwide. Before forming a partnership, businesses should be aware of budgets and timetables. Hiring an agency or contractor is an act of trust unless you have a comprehensive understanding of the cost-benefit analysis. 

Indisputably, Dot net development  is a complex field of study. In some instances, extensive research and innovative thinking are needed. Therefore, making assumptions about one development task or another is quite risky. 

In this blog post, we will cover all aspects of the process of estimating software development costs, as well as the methods we usually use to estimate them. Before we proceed, let's define what software development lifecycle estimates are for.

Software Development Life Cycle: Conventional Approach

Over the last few decades, software systems have become increasingly complex. Almost every industry or field of study feels the effects of technology. Therefore, we must develop a common software life-cycle management model. Before delving deeply into the topic, let’s first define what the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is. 

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) was the first formal project management framework that defined the major tasks and stages involved in  a software development process.

The development of an Integrated Systems Approach is impossible without a very deliberate, structured and methodical development of information systems. In this way, there is a requirement for every stage of the life cycle, from ideation to delivery of the final product, to be conducted in a rigid and defensible sequential way. 

In traditional software development, there are six stages of the Software Development Life Cycle.

  1. Planning Stage 

Planning stage involves such activities as: (a) analysis, (b) research, and (3) definition of project scope and vision. The key players in this process are: customers, sales representatives, and  business analysts. Deliverables include: 1) understanding customer needs, 2) a basic project roadmap, and  3) technical recommendations. 

  1. Analysis Stage

At this stage, the project's main goals are defined. In addition, system functionality is being carefully analyzed, project specifications are being finalized, and project major requirements regarding possible solutions to potentially challenging issues are being written. 

Customer development team involves (business analysts, technical experts, project managers). In terms of project deliverables, they include: functional specifications, work breakdown structure (WBS) and rough cost estimates. 

  1. Design Stage

In this stage, the visual design (UI/UX) and system architecture are created. The development team (architects, UX and UI experts, and the project manager) are key players in the project. At this stage, project deliverables include draft system architecture, final product design, and revised  estimate. 

  1. Implementation Stage 

Implementation usually refers to the software development process. As part of the process, the development team is typically composed of software engineers, designers, and project managers. During this stage, the main project deliverable is a finalized software product that meets the required quality standards. 

  1. Testing Stage

Quality assurance is usually part of the testing stage. This stage involves the development team, which typically consists of software engineers, quality assurance engineers, and project managers. Upon completion of the Testing Stage, a software product of the required quality will be delivered. 

  1. Maintenance Stage

The maintenance stage usually involves developing, supporting, and updating the desired product. During the development stage, software engineers and project managers usually work and collaborate with each other. At this stage, the final deliverable is an updated software product. 

Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) 

As a method of planning and managing a software project from start to finish, SDLC formed the basis of many software development methodologies used today. This process most closely complies with the waterfall model.

The model works best with well-defined projects that have a fairly narrow scope of work. These projects are usually used to solve a secondary business problem or automate a specific internal process. During this stage, you might be using a simple tool to streamline your business processes, like a landing page. In this situation, a fixed price collaboration can be used.  

In spite of being a simple and straightforward approach, the traditional SDLC still has many disadvantages. The biggest of these is the uncertainty that exists at the beginning of the software development process.

Uncertainty in project estimation: a flaw in the theory

Cost overruns and delays in delivery were cited as major problems in seven of the 12 most famous failed projects. The engineering team's cost and schedule estimates determine approximately 60% of a project's success.

The lack of calendar time is the most common reason for software projects to fail. A programmer is always an optimist. Scheduling systems programming is based on the false assumption that everything will work out as planned, i.e., that each task will take only as long as it should.

Aside from being optimistic, engineers are often under a lot of pressure. After all, they rely on unreliable estimates for the delays they cause. Regardless of how he or she feels about these estimates, the client perceives them as commitments. 

In engineering, it is a good idea to double the estimated amount of time and effort to be spent on the project when providing a quote. In spite of these precautions, making an assessment at the very beginning of the process is not reliable. Without clear documentation and detailed project requirements, it is nearly impossible to guess accurately. In order to make a realistic estimate, one should generally consider the following: 

Detailed specifications – The better you comprehend the scope of the project and the desired outcomes, the more efficient the project will be.

Graphic design – Complex UI elements typically take more time to design and implement.

Technology stack – Depending on the project, the team may need to use complex tools or third-party APIs or even develop a  custom solution. When estimating a project, it is important to include the time spent on research and learning.

The experience and personality factor – While an experienced software developer may be able to implement the requirements in one hour, and a trainee may take multiple days to accomplish the task. As a result, estimates should take into account the team working on the project.

There will be many more to come. Despite looking straightforward, requirements in a project document should never be overly detailed. For example, as a User, I wish to log into my account. This story can take many forms:

  • When logging in, what is the best method (email and password, or social networks, if any)?

  • Is there a need for restrictions (maximum character count,  types of characters, password length)?

  • Is there a way to handle incorrect input fields (invalid email address, password, etc. )?

  • Should there be a "Remember Me" option? What is the recommended time frame for storing information?

How can we recover our passwords?

What a lot of questions for such a simple and straightforward feature! All that is necessary for functionality are these requirements. Additionally, there are many technical details: code review, documentation writing, testing, and refactoring.

Identifying the scope of work early in the process is practically impossible. It is usually easier to provide a quote if you have a clear understanding of the project requirements. 

Finding a Compromise: Estimation Methods and Tools

1. Mapping out Work Breakdown Structure

The requirements for the project and the roadmap are typically developed during the planning/analysis phase. Estimates for software development are minimized by using them. 

WBS 

In the PMI Project Body of Knowledge®, a work breakdown structure is defined as "a breakdown of the deliverables that the team must complete to achieve the project goals."

Agile backlogs are often compared with project backlogs. The backlog is broken down into measurable, manageable deliverables. According to the WBS, the backlog consists of features and user stories, whereas the WBS focuses on the deliverables. Agile Work Breakdown Structures refer to a backlog, one of the artifacts of Scrum's methodology. The development of each one occurs as it grows.

2. Software Development Estimation Units

With a WBS, engineers can estimate the time and effort it will take  to create a software product. However, there is another aspect of the  problem:  How can this effort be measured?

Teams often refer to items relative to each other, such as story points, function points, or even t-shirt sizes. Estimates of software engineering effort are often expressed in man-hours, months, weeks, or weeks.

For business-oriented customers, these numbers make no sense. So when they negotiate with a potential contractor or discuss the project with their engineering team inside the company, this is what they expect to hear. Consequently, the effort estimate is usually translated into  hours/days/weeks/months, and the cost is calculated accordingly.

3. Software Estimation Techniques

In general, most estimation procedures can be classified as either Traditional (usually used in waterfall methods) or Agile, depending on the project management method to be used.

Currently we have the following methods of assessing software engineering.

      Traditional

            Agile

  • Analogy

  • Relative sizing

  • Effort method

  • Wideband Delphi

  • Programming techniques 

  • Planning poker

  • Expert Judgment

  • Affinity estimation

  • Delphi/Wideband Delphi

  • Ideal time and elapsed time

  • Program Evaluation and Review 

  • Disaggregation

  • CoCoMo 1/CoCoMo 2

  • Bottom-up/top-down estimation

  • Albrects Function Points

  • Constructive agile estimation algorithm

  • Parametric methods (e.g., PRICE)

  • Time, budget, and costs estimation

  • Various top-down or bottom-up techniques

 

4. Handling Project Estimations at BitsOrchestra

BitsOrchestra developed a unique approach. Our typical waterfall project estimates are based on three methods:

  • Analogy-based estimations 

  • Structural approach 

How BitsOrchestra company meets its deadlines

The standard process finalizes the initial project vision. Following this, the document is transformed into a Work Breakdown Structure. The proposed solution is broken down into smaller modules and features to align with what our client expects in terms of functionality and scope. For each feature of the module, three methods are used:  analogy-based estimation, statistical approach, and expert judgment.

In this way, we get a detailed breakdown of the scope of work and an estimation of the duration of each task. The range of variability is determined  by  the minimum and maximum values.

With the estimated time for each feature separate, we are now able to provide an overall quote.

Nevertheless, this estimate only includes implementation time. Documenting, creating and implementing UX/UI designs, and testing are related activities. By communicating, we can have a realistic perception of the project, its scope, and its duration. Based on the results of these tests and the development estimate, the final price for the whole project will be determined.

The fact that several activities are simultaneously undertaken with the main development activities does not necessarily lead to extended project durations, for example quality assurance or project management. Accordingly, the estimated scope of work does not overstate how long it will actually take by calendar year.

It is clear, however, that a detailed work breakdown and dedicated methodologies cannot provide a panacea: there will remain a degree of variation  between the minimum and maximum estimates. Because of this, our project management approach has changed.

Product Engineering Approach

In spite of the strengths of a software cost estimation technique, there is no way the technique can compensate for the lack of  definition or understanding of the software job to be done. Therefore, we have developed a more solid methodology for building software solutions. 

The product development model

Creating sophisticated software products from scratch requires greater flexibility and teamwork. At this point, comprehensive research and detailed planning is simply not feasible since the requirements and the entire business model might change during the development process. Because of this, this approach to cost estimation in software engineering works best when a customer request goes far beyond a trivial development  task. When a major role is to be played by a product in the client's business, this model can be used successfully. In our experience, examples of this type of cooperation include building a booking site for an online travel agency or creating a clinic management system for a physician.

Product development is mostly driven by agile  methodologies. Thus, instead of devoting 30-40 percent of all project time to planning and analysis, we focus on the high-level requirements and assemble a dedicated team, handpicked to meet the client's needs, to handle  the development. Following that, we follow an agile process: we deliver working prototypes iteration by iteration. Our sprints last 2-4 weeks to make progress measurable and to ensure predictable results.

Being agile at its core, this approach cannot be limited by deadlines or commitments from the very outset, which is why a Time and Material model is ideal. The agile software estimation method is used to provide quotes for limited set of tasks instead of total product estimates:
  • Planning Poker
  • Relative Sizing
  • Ideal Time & Elapsed Time
Poker is a gamified estimation and planning technique for agile teams. Each team member uses a deck of cards rather than speaking their estimates aloud. Each team member estimates the time each item from the list of features for an iteration will take in his/her opinion. Following that, the team reviews each estimate and agrees on only one. The method allows every team member to make an impartial judgment, based on his/her own views.
 
During relative sizing estimation, the team decides on a feature or task that will serve as a measurement standard. Using this standard, all subsequent items will be estimated.
 
Instead of working an "ideal" 8-hour day, the idea behind Ideal Time & Elapsed Time is that most engineers will spend about 6 hours a day fully focused on the task at hand. 
 
The team estimates a 24-hour task as one that will be completed in 4 days instead of 3 days based on this focus factor.
 
The Standish Group 2015 Chaos Report indicates that only 3 percent of large waterfall projects succeed, whereas 18 percent of agile projects of the same size succeed. Small waterfall projects have a success rate of 44 percent. This perfectly explains the use of the product development approach which is highly encouraged.

Agile Methodologies 

According to the key principles behind some of the most popular Agile methodologies, there is value in estimates, and they are just addicted to a practice (estimation) because it provides them with something they find valuable: plans, comfort, uncertainty reduction, financial projections, sales proposals. Nevertheless, these do not provide value to customers.  Therefore, they are immediately considered waste.

You might, however, find it vital for your business to be able to plan and predict your expenses. Any estimate should be viewed as an assumption, not as something that is etched in stone. There is no guarantee that deadlines and budgets will stay the same. With high-quality software, you gain value and advantage.

Why to choose BitsOrchestra for your net development project?

Outsourcing ASP.NET development has always been one of the most popular IT outsourcing services. Many types of applications can be developed with this technology. Currently we provide ASP.NET agile development and ASP.NET MVC services. 

BitsOrchestra company is a team of experienced ASP.NET Programmers. As developers of ASP.NET web applications and other Microsoft technologies, we are capable of taking on any of your tasks. If you are looking to Outsource asp net development tasks then BitsOrchestra is your best partner. We have a professional team that can handle your job well. 

Our Team 

Bits Orchestra team consists of talented developers who translate the needs of their customers into well-thought-out and well-executed products. Our team of experienced developers offers experience in Graphic Design, User Experience, and System Architecture Design for finding the best solution for your  business growth. We do Dot net programming and have already achieved high results in this area. Please, check our portfolio and see our latest projects. 

We take great care in outsourcing our network services. With all our software solutions for intelligent business processes, our focus is on offering software that is user-friendly. 

While outsourcing .net programming services we try to follow strict deadlines that are possible through a careful planning process. Well-defined project and strict adherence to the deadlines is the guarantee that our product will be of the highest quality. 

Our company is eager to develop a concept that caters to your company's needs. Currently, we have developed a whole line of high-quality products, such as Workplace Transformation Tool, Site Builder, Mortgage Calculator, Content LAB, Vet Pharma Budget Tool, and many more that you should find useful for streamlining your business processes and improving business efficiency. Similarly, we are ready to implement these solutions and connect them to appropriate third-party systems in your existing IT infrastructure.

In order to fulfill all these objectives we pay a great deal of attention to the planning process, particularly when it comes to time and budget estimations. These  processes require extensive research and out-of-the-box solutions.


 

 


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