You should never think of your software development project as finished. There will always be something new around the corner. You will always want to include a new function or feature in the project. So a question is bound to come up about how much you should spend or how much your custom software development budget should be. Requirements are constantly changing, and technologies are always evolving, making estimating a budget somewhat challenging. Think of it as remodeling a house every few years.

Many companies sometimes do not care about the budget and keep on throwing money at it in the hopes that it will become better. But by doing so, they miss out on many other factors such as client feedback and, not to forget, waste a ton of money that they could have easily saved.

On the other hand, some companies want to make their budget as small as they possibly can. In this scenario as well, you miss out on different things. Spending less might lead to you not getting as much back from this project or investment as you thought you would.

Whether the company you decide to take on as your partner for your software development project, some aspects should remain the same universally. A responsible budget will make sure that you get your money’s worth from your investment.

Why might it be important to rethink your software estimation process?

One thing that should be clear from day one is that when it comes to estimating a budget for your software development project, it’s not a one-person job. Everyone from the QA leads, the business leaders, to the developers themselves to be involved with this process. When everyone is actively involved in coming to the estimate, you will notice that the actual product is better in tune with the initial estimate. When you start the whole process of rethinking the budget estimate, you’ll find the gaps that were present in the beginning. Things are constantly changing in the business of software development. When working with the agile model, teams will work closely with the owner to make sure that the product that is released delivers its value.

Let’s discuss some points that you should keep in mind while making a responsible budget for your custom software development project:

1. Estimate the kind of value your project will have or thinks of having

You can only think of investing an X amount of investment when you know the estimated worth of the project itself. What is the software worth to you? This should be the first question you ask yourself. Look into how much you wish to either save or earn (depending on how you want to see it) with this software that you are investing in.  This point should be considered regardless of what the project might cost you. Don’t forget that you can only make this estimation after understanding the project, business model, and market.

2. Get a ballpark figure of this estimate after understanding the internal costs of the project.

If you are in a position to have an internal development team with you, ask them to estimate how long the project will take in terms of man-hours spent. This will help you when you later go to outside developers to compare or at least have a baseline estimate with you.

And similar to what was discussed above, make sure you have a more in-depth understanding of the project. This would include ongoing support, market analysis, the opportunity cost of internal recourses, and other factors. 

Once you have done all this, when you move on to talking to the software development company, you should make a special point to look at how they respond to you. Depending on their responses, you will gauge the level of transparency they will have with you in this project. 

3. Try and secure 150% of the funding of the ballpark figure

Again, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, the project is never truly “done” or “finished” when it comes to custom software development. There will always be an improvement in the technology or a new idea regarding some of the other features and functions of the product. And let’s not forget that even when the development team is in the middle of the project they can come across some unknown issue or complexity that can increase the project’s cost. So to protect yourself and the project, try and get funding for around 150% of the ballpark estimate is.

Think about it this way that it’s worse to spend little than to spend a little too much. This does not mean that you will not have to spend any money, what it does mean is that you will be protected from any disaster of being undercapitalized. Investors in this phase know that the first round might be a wasted round.

4. Plan to set a Phase 1 development budget

When you have chosen who you want as your software development partner then work with them to fix a budget for Phase 1. Make sure that whatever the budget is then it should be in consonance with the original ballpark estimate.

5. Build a small product that delivers you value

This is where you need to work with a little more creative developers to see how to make the best product with little software, while also making sure that when the product is deployed is should have the delivering value. When you think of putting as many features in a product, it creates a perfect recipe for the cost increase. A great way to make sure that your users have a good user experience is by following the human-centered design principles.