Cost estimation is a critical aspect of custom software development process. In their endeavour to build a custom software, businesses invariably end up being on the wrong side of the cost estimation mark. While there are multiple reasons for this, some can be attributed to their own failings. In this blog, we talk about those aspects that lie within your ambit and which you need to take care of to ensure costs don’t shoot up.
Don’t Leave Your Vendors in Doubts
Costs go up when you leave your vendor guessing. There are not many vendors who can comprehend the nuts and bolts of a project in entirety. Worst, vendors tend to cover up ambiguities with assumptions and feel forced to bid higher anticipating worst scenarios. Still worse, when assumptions go horribly wrong, you may have to put up with a delay or abandon the project altogether, both of which can make you pay through the nose.
It’s all about articulating the scope of your project in clear and concise terms. Educate your vendor about the vital parameters — project objectives, goals, sub-phases, tasks, resources, budget and schedule — along with the limitations of the parameters. Provide clarity on the fundamental tasks that need to be accomplished with due consideration to each role for sequential closing of the functionality. Technical specifications, risk assessment, critical path and implications of business logic, systems behaviour should be part of the scope. Likewise, take care to document what will not be done, so that scope of assumptions gets eliminated altogether.
Methodology Matters More than Anything Else
Probe more about the vendors methodology because not all methodology is suited for all projects. Only the one that is oriented towards your requirements will help you save costs. Sometimes an informal method may work better than a formal one, just as the vice-versa may also be true. Today, to stop excesses from happening, companies are choosing proven methods like agile or scrum. For optimum level productivity you need to make your pick carefully. Further, make sure your vendor has sufficient experience with the methodology you want. This will ensure that your vendor doesn’t end up billing you for wasted labor.
Why Not Test with a Part-Custom Software?
When you are unsure about the value the software may add to your process, you may opt for a semi-custom alternative to beat time and costs involved as well as gain more certainty about the products usefulness. It involves developing a product combining the features available in existing products and serving the desired functionality. In developing such software, developers don’t have to rack their brains much. They just stitch together proven functionalities from here and there to create a unified interface with specific and distinctive features.
Try Out More Agreeable Terms
If you believe your vendor is quoting too much, why not explore alternative contract terms with them. You may end up with an innovative arrangement that could incrementally reduce custom project pricing. For instance, instead of a fixed estimate you can opt for time and materials contract wherein you pay only for actual time worked. Other possibilities include performance based pricing, volume-based discount plan, preferred vendor discounts, profit sharing etc.
While all of these factors can go a long way to check unexpected cost shocks, having a reliable vendor can sort out most of your woes associated with costs. A vendor with professional integrity and long-standing market presence will be pro-active in dishing out alternatives to save costs without compromising on quality.