How much is the software development? Two projects are never the same - it can be a small application or a complex system. It is important to try to reduce the possible increase in cost.
What Is an Increased Cost
How much money do you spend on a project and how to reduce the possible increase in cost but keep the development effective? It can be tricky to measure the development cost because no two projects are the same. Also if you think you are going to deal with a small problem, it can be much harder in reality. The two things you can actually measure are the time spent on development and the quality of the product.
The quality of the product is affected by three constraints: people, schedule and scope.
- People The more experienced the team is, the faster and therefore cheaper the product is developed. The longer they work on a project, the more familiar they are with it. The team has to understand that they have the same goal, ensure that they feel motivated, comfortable, and supported. There are many tools to help you with motivating the team. For more information, see Scrum, Demotivated Team, Rituals Definition, or Mentoring
- Schedule Estimating the time for each task of the project can be tricky. The longer the project is, the more difficult it gets to estimate the time. There are tools to help you with the schedule (for example, Agile Methods), a Product Owner helps to prioritize the tasks. For more information, see Rituals Definition and Product Owner.
- Scope The whole length of the project has to be constantly adjusted based on the feedback from the Product Owner and Stakeholders. Their feedback helps to prioritize the tasks based on the customer's needs.
It is easy to increase the development cost by:
- underestimating the time the developers need
- having too many junior developers
- being pushed by the stakeholder to use expensive technologies you do not need
- renting an office and buying the equipment
- building unnecessary functionalities that the user would not use
- not suppressing the ego enough (For example, the manager tells the team to develop something that the users will never use. Everyone knows it is a waste of time but the manager insist on it. The manager wants it there for no apparent reason. That means that the manager cannot suppress their ego.)
How to Reduce the Development Cost
- Make it simple Decide what features are really necessary. The users can feel overloaded if the project (an application or software) has too many features. The goal is to make the app easy to use.
- Plan well Do not underestimate the planning stage of your project. Speeding through this stage when your schedule is tight is very tempting. You can change the plan during the development but it is important to have defined ideas at the beginning. Use techniques such as Lean Canvas, Value Proposition Canvas, or build Minimum Viable Product.
- Collaborate Talk about the project, share the ideas. For more information, see the Bus Factor, Pair Programming, or Ritual Definition.
- Manage A good Project Management can save a lot of time and money. Make reasonable deadlines, check the developers regularly but do not micromanage them. Motivate the team and listen to everyone. For more information, see Demotivated Team.
- Speed up the marketing The product can be marketed before it is even finished.
- Outsource It became very common to outsource in the software industry to reduce the cost.