As a software developer, you would be intrigued with two different nomenclatures – each connoting to solving more or less a similar purpose; One being the ‘proposal software’ and the other being a software estimation tool. You might wonder – which one should I employ for creating a winning proposal for software project bids so as to win more projects?
The truth of the matter is proposal software is practically limited to content presentation unless it is technically aided with in-depth analysis and details of scope, effort and budget estimates – which defines software estimation in totality. A software estimation tool capable of producing quick estimates at a granular technical level is what is going to justify your bid.
All Clients need to understand WHAT you present in your proposal and WHY you present those cost numbers. JUSTIFY yourself!!
Proposal Software Creates a Sales Pitch But Is It Enough?
As the name suggests, proposal software or proposal management software enables the user to create software proposals or requests for proposal for projects on predefined templates. As the name suggest it is tilted more towards a sales and marketing function through automation capabilities relating to presentations, documentation, letters, contracts, accounting and CRM function.
Estimation software on the other hand offers an automated estimation capability for estimating a software product to a granular level. We cannot deny, the importance of technical estimation of software product to define effort, scope and budget for the system.
As a software developer, your prime task, before you actually begin your development process is a granular requirement analysis to the core of the system. Once you have done that – you need to feed all those technical requirements/functionalities/feature specifications for estimation into a tool to come up with a detailed scope to define effort and cost. The scope definition forms the basis of delivery timing. A very smart approach to apply for the development process, a fairly defined scope, is what enables you to deliver ONTIME.
Estimation Tool Helps to Develop Your Effort Model For Effort Estimation
A proposal software might offer a template to calculate hours as per your main requirements, but an estimation tool allows you to define your very own ‘effort model’ and do a detailed technical analysis for estimation. An effort model helps your development organization in the long run to create historical data sources for future projects. It helps you to analyze your effort /competency level internally and measure productivity to establish a benchmarking system for productivity management. By defining a customized effort model for your organization, a software estimation tool aids you in internal transformation too.
Customization for Software Estimation is Indispensable When you Create Your Proposal
Every software product is a unique system, which needs to be treated differently when we define it (in terms of functionality). We know that estimation of a software system is an uncertain task – scope may change and risk elements vary. Using a templated proposal software, it would not be sufficient to solve the uncertainty aspects of estimation or allow for any sort of uniqueness of a project.
As a software developer, you need a software estimation tool which allows estimation of the software system on a more technical ground.
As a developer, crafting a convincing proposal for winning over a project is definitely required, but providing a detailed scope document which covers each and every aspect of the system’s technical specifications and explains the estimated hours is going to be exponentially more convincing in winning over a project.
Sales Perspective Is Required But Justifying Your Estimated Hours and Cost Is Essential
Proposal software allows you to put together a proposal based off of predefined templates on a basic level mainly aimed to create a software proposal letter for automating the sales activity of software development. True it would offer capabilities for client management to organize information catering to client information. But as I explained above, that proposal would be devoid of technical calculations and in-depth estimation analysis – which justifies your estimation hours.
What does this mean? When your proposal software crafts a beautiful proposal for your client, you still need a well detailed document which justifies the budget for the software project. You need to provide technical details of how much effort goes into what task and most importantly why.
Estimation software is the answer – as it offers the what and the why and adds robustness making the proposal more convincing.
Finding this balance is tough, but most development companies would agree with me on this front! We need to create and present a technically sound proposal document to our clients to win the proposal and be capable of delivering the product as per specified schedules in the long run.
A proposal gets strengthened only through sound data driven technical analysis of your estimate – which again is possible through an automated estimation software.
As 2016 dawns, the software industry needs a renovation and transformation in the way software project bidding is done through proposals. As developers you need to understand and implement this transformation into your project proposal planning and management for successful project bidding.