The final cost of software development is not always clear cut. While many business owners understand the benefits of having software developed for their specific methods, they overlook the details that go into the design process.
The time it takes to get the project completed, the scope or complexity of the project, how many team members there are and where they live are some of the elements that go into the cost of software development.
No two projects will be the same as every company has different requirements and expectations for their product. There are also some other variables that come into play as the project progresses and can lead to extra time and cost required to get the software working properly.
Software development can take anywhere from a few hours for a really simple product to something more complex and beneficial for an enterprise, which could take months.
A common misconception is that the more people who are working on the project, the faster it will be completed but that is not always the case. Development needs to happen in a certain order. That is something extra hands on deck can’t change.
As a team moves forward on a project there are always unexpected complications that come up. To correct the issues, extra time will need to be invested or the software will run the risk of not functioning properly.
Sometimes you can work out a staggered development plan with your team, meaning that there are design milestones for them to achieve. Thus, at each milestone you will be able to see how your product is coming along and there will also be an opportunity to re-evaluate how much the project may cost overall. This will allow developers to re-estimate the overall cost as they see how the program is coming together and they can also adjust the time and effort they anticipate it will need going forward.
The complexity of the program will also influence the cost. Those applications that are simpler in design will not cost as much as more demanding developments.
To help define the project for your developer, consider some outcomes you want from the software. You will also need to discuss elements like the hosting environment. Will there be a charge for this or do you want to go with a free service? Will you need a database? Most products require one to keep track of information. Do you need any APIs? What about mobile compatibility? Is this a software that you want linked to your employees phones?
You also need to consider what goes into building a piece of software so you can fully grasp the amount of work that is involved. Every function of the software needs to be completed by the developer or it won’t work. That means every element, everything you want the program to do based on every command needs to be in place for it to work properly.
The quality of the code being written will also affect the bottom line. If your developer is just trying to get the project done quickly, they might not be focuses on the quality and workability of the software. While it may cost you more right now to hire a developer to create the program, you should consider it an investment against future costs related to a bad program design.
While you may have very specific requirements going into the project, these may change over time. You may want to add some function or element that will enhance your business as you grow. All of this will affect the overall cost of the development.
The price is most often determined by how many staff members are working on the project. A project that has two people on the team will cost less than one that has five or more. However, the more people on the team, the more specialists there will be looking over the product to help make sure it gets done right.
How much the company pays its staff also has an influence on the cost of the project. Those costs are dependent upon where the company is located and how much the average developer makes in that industry and geographical location.
Thus while the quality of a project may remain the same, it will likely be more expensive to pay a developer in New York City over one in Virginia. It also makes a difference if your developer works for a large brand or whether they are employed by a startup. The costs of maintaining a brand can be high while a startup offers customers access to talent without requiring hefty contributions for overhead.
In addition, there are other extra costs that may impact the final sum, such as subscriptions or software needed to complete the task that will also impact the final amount of the project.
Some businesses may also need to plan for infrastructure cost. This is most often the cost associated with buying or renting hardware like servers where the work will be done and tested.
You should also anticipate upgrading costs and other maintenance fees that will occur over time. This covers things like security upgrades or repairs if a feature stops working. For every line of code that has been put into the development, there is one that will need to be updated and maintained over time.
Don’t forget that when you bring the new software online there will need to be some investment made to move over the information from your previous software. This may also include training for your staff about the new product and its features.
While the cost of software development may seem high, often the cost of not having the right program in place are higher. If you are working with software that constantly has glitches or stops working, requiring your employees to restart the system several times a day, the loss of productivity adds up.
While the costs may seem large, it is important to remember that the software developed will be customized with your businesses procedures in mind, not just a one-size-fits-all process. This means that all the elements work together in a complementary way. This will result in higher productivity in your endeavors and will also help prevent technical problems down the road.
Also published on Medium.