The very first question a client asks is how much time; by what time do you suppose you can complete this project? How fast can you produce the estimate? This has a downward spiraling effect. The team gets to hear the same question from their project manager or lead. The client expects to provide high level requirements and get an accurate detailed estimate in return. And in the shortest time interval possible.

It is extremely dangerous to come up with a quick estimate without actually doing a thorough calculation. Estimation is an intriguing subject and requires both technical knowledge and artistic endeavor but clients expect it to be fast and quick so that they can take their decision. This is a make or break situation for the developer – as they run the chances of either performing some rough and quick calculations to win the project or risk losing the project by taking a longer time to produce the estimate.

This lands us to the most challenging question in the software development industry. **Can organizations arrive at fairly accurate estimates quickly?** Can the scarce resource time be saved significantly in the overall estimation process?

Let us see.

### The Process

Ideally speaking, the common methodology of estimation would require estimating the size, effort and schedule of the project. This would require understanding and developing the group/team’s matrices such as productivity quotient, analyzing the nature and scope of project and tabulating team size depending on the project size which again has significant bearing on coordination and communication factor. All these factors affect effort calculation.

The degree of uncertainty and level of complexity needs to be taken into account. Coupled to these are the various unknown variables and multiple assumptions which need to be made before arriving at an actual estimation. These tasks would not take less than a week, even though the project may be small. The team may finally arrive at some estimation through expert judgement and complex calculations. The client might just find the estimates to be too high and the organization might either need to re-estimate or may actually end up losing the project.

### This Lands Us to the Basic Question Once Again. How Can the Estimation Process be Quicker?

The techniques employed for estimation could either be COCOMO, which is a scientific process and employs mathematical calculations. The other technique involves empirical calculation, expert opinion and comparing results to historical project data for arriving at present estimates.

Sometimes teams also employ more than one technique for calculation of estimates with the purpose of cross checking the numbers and lending more sanity to the numbers. The process is time consuming and gives variable results which would require revisiting the estimation process once again. Function points are generally used as the starting point for arriving at the line of code (LOC) calculation – estimation out of estimation which again would be more complex. The techniques are complex and time consuming which makes the estimation process lengthy.

### What Could be the Alternative?

We have seen how the existing techniques are lengthy and time consuming. What the need of the hour is a process which provides agility, reduces complexity and standardizes the overall estimation technique. The estimates should be in sync, irrespective of who does it with greater clarity and understanding of estimation goals.

Quick FPA is one such software tool which enables quickness of overall estimation thus saving the analysts from handling manual complexity of laborious calculations. Quick FPA builds estimates more quickly. So for projects with complex nature, around 10 estimates can be built in an hour. Thus Quick FPA allows creating accurate estimates in a shorter time period either through the pre-built implementation type template or through creating your own company standards.

It prevents the scope of variable estimates or disorganized methodology. Quick FPA enables consistency and manageability of estimation with the utmost flexibility and ease of handling. No matter who does the estimation, the results would be the same for all, thus enabling even a less experienced developer to carry estimation. This coupled with the easy setup further simplifies the process.

The estimation through Quick FPA is crisper, cleaner and more accurate as compared to manual estimates. The problem of loose estimation which loosens overall control over the software development process is reduced through Quick FPA to a great extent. The estimates are more detailed which definitely provide a competitive edge with respect to other software developers by establishing supremacy in knowledge, experience and accuracy of estimates.

The overall success of the estimation process rests on how well the client is able to list their use cases. The organization needs to know their use cases thoroughly well. Once that is done, Quick FPA would act as a guide and enable the developer to arrive at fairly accurate estimates in the quickest time possible. The tool acts as a guide and helps to educate and manage the estimation process.

Irrespective of the way (in house or through Intelekit experts) the client company chooses for their estimation process, Quick FPA helps to deal with the greatest challenge of the software development industry – estimating the software fast enough! The tool enables a developer to establish supremacy and leadership in the industry as ‘the organization capable of doing the quickest estimate’ with greatest precision and control.

For more information visit and register at www.quickfpa.com

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