I follow the 8 step process: Step 1 – read the “request for proposal” document (could be a formal document, or an email or chat or a conversation log) once from top to end and make some points categorized under (a) clear, (b) not clear. Step 2 – Take each clear point and estimate time…
I follow the 8 step process:
Step 1 – read the “request for proposal” document (could be a formal document, or an email or chat or a conversation log) once from top to end and make some points categorized under (a) clear, (b) not clear.
Step 2 – Take each clear point and estimate time for these 5 things
Quick tip – did you consider any integrations with external systems/api etc? Does the project require creating a web service or a plugin?
We use PERT. You can use other estimates as well.
Step 3 – For each of the above, note down the involvement and resource requirements from the customer end as well. It is very important to let the customer know upfront what resources are needed from their end (users for testing, test server, paypal account for testing etc)
Step 4 – The not clear points – make a list and send it out to the project champion of the customer. I always add this at the bottom “We need to know this before we can give you a fair proposal”
Step 5 – Once you get response from the client repeat Steps 2 to 4 till you cannot go any further. Hopefully you will be left with none or only a few “not clear” points. If you have any “not clears” – this is what you can do – provide a range. If you cannot estimate a range, provide a per hour cost with a line saying “the total cost can be ascertained through discovery sessions with the project stakeholders”
Step 6 – This is the easy part – add up all the costs and the ranges and add a buffer (project reserve) — we typically add 10% to 20% depending on the complexity of the project. Put them all in a separate section of your proposal, visible and clear.
Step 7 – Be transparent and let the customer know of the “not clears” – no one likes any amount of surprise once a project is underway.
Roni has 16 years of experience in leading small to large scale IT projects for various markets. Roni successfully founded 2 companies spanning multiple locations and time-zones. He rolls up his sleeves and gets into software development anytime you ask him and database development is his passion – we call him “our sequel junkie”! Roni has a Bachelor’s in Engineering, his very valued PMP and is close to finishing his Global MBA from the coveted Warwick Business School in the UK. When asked about his personal life he says “We, my wife and 2 boys, live in the picturesque Hudson Valley region of New York. A Yankees and New York Giants fan, I also enjoy strumming my guitars every day, mixing recipes from different cultures when I get some time and hack away during an occasional round of golf.”