Before we discuss an important and almost intimate process of the estimate, let’s consider several examples of ineffective attitude.
An estimate as a single figure. You get one figure, say, 4224 working hours. If you need to chop a piece of this monolith, it would be hard to do so without affecting it as a whole.
An estimate by type of work. Frontend 1440 hours, backend 1280 hours, QA 1024 hours, project management 480 hours. But what if you want to put off the development of some complex filter of items or a popup with photo crop in a user profile to the next product version? You still will need a complete reestimate.
These estimate methods are inconvenient to you. A client, who orders web development services, should be able to control the expenses.
Let’s imagine you take your car to maintenance service. A friendly manager provides you with 2-3 pages of estimate where you find a statement of work, with working hours required for each deliverable and the list of all necessary parts. If guarantee terms allow, you can easily cross out, for example, air filter replacement and the air filter itself (we don’t recommend doing so). In this case, you just remove unnecessary service and parts from the list and subtract their cost. You control your vehicle maintenance service estimate.
The same should be true about your web projects. The best solution is to get an estimate where the project is structured by tasks, with the detalization to 1-4 hours for a task. The estimate will include also what constitutes each task. For example, a task to develop XXX takes 3,5 hours (of them, Frontend 2,5 hours, QA 0,75 hours, PM 0,25 hours). If you find it not so important for the current version of your product, you can just cross it out. Surely, there are some core tasks you can’t set aside (as the engine and the body of a car). But you can easily understand what is included in these core blocks, and in any other task of your project.
The plan-estimate also includes the timeframe. For a well-planned project with competent resource allocation, project duration can be calculated, roughly, by dividing the total hours by the number of team members. You can receive detailed information about the resources and their allocation from the project manager.
Control your plan-estimate. The estimate and development should be an enjoyable experience both for you and for the development team.