How does 1902 estimate and do a project plan?

Creating a project plan is crucial when developing a software project. We have more than 22 years of experience doing just that.

A rough estimate is a projection of how much time and money goes into developing a project. It usually only requires a short meeting to explain the project details and can be used to evaluate if a potential supplier is the right fit.

A project plan is a comprehensive document that defines the scope of a project, lists all its specifications, explains technical considerations, and sets expectations between the supplier and the client. Needless to say, the latter is more time consuming than the former.

Project plans are usually needed for big projects — typically projects that take 200 hours or more to complete. Making a project plan forces stakeholders to think everything through as detailed as possible so that:

a) the project owner knows what to expect.

b) the developer knows what to develop. Only when the project plan has been written can the price be calculated.

You have probably heard of software projects that went over budget, or even worse, were never completed at all. There is a big chance that it was because the developer started to work on the project without knowing what the client wanted, and then when the client was given the finished product, they were disappointed because it was not what they expected.

A little bit of thinking and planning before starting the project goes a long way to avoid that.

Not every project needs a project plan, in the same way that a rough estimate simply will not do for certain types of software projects. At 1902, we make two different types of estimates / price calculations:

  • Rough estimate
    Rough estimates are ballpark figures that we give to clients who want to have a price idea before spending time going into details. When we do a rough estimate, we usually base it on a description of the project and/or a meeting with the clients as well as our experience in developing similar projects. We do rough estimates for free.
  • Project plan
    When a rough estimate is accepted by the clients, we usually proceed with creating a project plan. The project plan is free if we estimate that we can do it in 5 hours or less. If not, then we charge a fee to create it. We will give the price for the project plan ahead of time so that you can decide if you want to proceed or not.

Why does 1902 charge a fee to make a project plan?

We charge a fee to make a project plan because it is time-consuming to do. Many plans require 5, 10, 20 or more hours of a senior project manager’s time (depending on the specifics of the project) to complete. The end result is a comprehensive plan for your project plus a lot of know-how. Since you paid for the plan, you are free to take it to another company if you do not wish to continue working with 1902 Software.

We recommend that you minimize the number of changes as much as possible while the development is ongoing, as this may otherwise result in schedules and budgets not being kept.

Any changes or additions requested after the project starts, requires us to review the part of the system that will be changed to see if the change affects what has already been developed. Often, this will also require us to recalculate the price and delay the completion of the project because we have to re-develop some parts.

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Estimation and planning process

Generally speaking the process to create a free or paid project plan is the same. The difference lies in the size and complexity of the project. The bigger or more complex the project is, the more time we need to create a project plan.

  • We begin every project by getting to know our clients. This is typically done by us conducting an onboarding interview with the client before the client meets the project manager.
  • If you’re a new client, we give you a free rough estimate based on the project information you have given us. If your project needs a project plan, we’ll also give you the price for that. With the rough estimate and the project plan price you can decide if you want to continue to work with us or not.
  • If you decide to work with us, we will set up a meeting with you to get to know more about you, your business, and specific details of your project. At the same time, this gives us a chance to review how our development process works.
  • If you’re an existing client, feel free to request for a rough estimate or go straight into sending us the project specifications and ask for a project plan.
  • For this phase, the assigned Project Manager will ask you for the list of project requirements. Next, the Project Manager and a lead developer will list down all the specifications or tasks needed to be accomplished.
  • The list of tasks includes standard tasks such as project management, design, planning,  speed optimization and technical SEO– to name a few. The standard tasks are then followed by the specific project tasks and specifications unique to the project.
  • Review and discussion of the project specification usually takes about 1 week. During that time, it undergoes refinement through an exchange of comments and feedback between you and the project manager. Once the project specifications are finalized, we move on to write the project plan which usually takes another week to do.

The drafting of the project plan involves a project manager, sometimes a software architect, and sometimes a designer. The project plan includes, among other things, the following:

  1. Project overview – a summary of the entire project – discussion of special problems and/or special technical requirements.
  2. Scope of work – a more detailed description of the work we will be doing — including special/integrations development, out of the ordinary SEO considerations, etc. (Note: sometimes, we combine project overview and scope of work into one section.)
  3. Detailed project specifications – a list of all the special tasks and their details. This section is used by the client to review and agree to what we will be developing. This is also used by the developer to understand the details of the project i.e., what to develop. This section can be quite technical.
  4. The project’s technology choice, including a list of 3rd party plugins that will be used — including their prices, hosting set-up, and details about the post-project support.
  5. Risk management plan – lists the possible risks that can occur during the development process, their likelihood, priority status, and how to mitigate them.
  6. Project timeline – how long it will take for the project to be completed, including milestones.
  7. Detailed pricing – a breakdown of the tasks and their individual prices.

Detailed pricing

An important part of drafting the project plan is the price calculation. This is based on the project tasks, specifications, and timeline. Each task is broken down into different activities:

  • Development
  • Design
  • Project management
  • Briefing
  • Deployment and installation
  • Testing

(Read how our project managers utilize AI/machine learning model to do price calculation)

Once we have completed the project plan, we set up a meeting with you to discuss it. We send you the project plan document and get on a call.

After the meeting, we make revisions to the document. As soon as you're satisfied with the project plan, we do a price calculation again to get the final price.