How to Calculate a Most Precise App Cost

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Editorial Note: This essay is a guest post created by Ivan Mak.

If we ever had to bargain with mobile apps estimates (from a indicate of viewpoint of both a patron and an estimator/contractor) afterwards we would have really had a following review during slightest once:

Client: “I have an thought and we wish an accurate guess of my app right now.”

Contractor: “I can't give we an accurate guess since there is not adequate information/specifications/wireframes etc.”

Client: “And we can’t start and give a devise to we though it.”

There are dual forms of companies this conditions defines: “fakers” and “honest” ones.

Contractors of a initial form (the infancy belongs here) let their clients pull them around. They assure a patron that a devise will cost $N and customarily send a outrageous (often typical) blurb offer with a almost step-by-step devise of devise implementation. In other disproportion they contend things a patron wants to hear – it could be compared with flattery, in some way.

Honest contractors are always in a minority. They tell their clients directly, they can yield customarily an guess cost guess and afterwards mention it as they learn some-more about a devise (or pierce step-by-step).

If we would like to save your time and equivocate communication with “fakers” we should initial know how to select a growth group for your project. It is not easy and any step requires clever planning.

Of course, many clients tumble for adulation when removing proficient with a contractor. Often “honest” companies get into a conditions when people come to them with a cost guess finished by “fakers” and say: “Why can’t we contend how many a app costs? These guys gave me an accurate figure…”.

There is no clarity to disagree that a faker’s cost guess is distant from reality, a patron will cruise it a unwashed pretence from a side. It does make clarity to wait until a patron faces initial difficulties, what happens utterly quickly. Or they can do their best to explain what is required to make a minute and accurate app cost estimate. If we go to a above-described difficulty of clients go on reading, we will find out a lot of engaging things

According to statistics from The Standish Group customarily 32% of projects accommodate estimates, a remaining 68% of them (!) are underestimated.

This investigate confirms a observations of a company.

So, since is it unfit to weigh a cost of a whole devise during once, and since should we exclude services of a association if it has supposing we with such an estimate?

Consider a following example: we are asked to classify a grill party. The initial doubt to we is: “How many will it cost to do it?”. If we are an gifted organizer we can give a comparatively pure answer during this stage, though it will 100% differ from a discernible cost of a party. To give a some-more minute answer we need to collect some information starting from a simplest things:

  • How many people will come?
  • Do they wish any entertainment?

to some-more formidable ones:

  • How aged are your guests? Will they splash alcohol?
  • What do they cite to drink?
  • What kind of beef do they like?


Now suppose yourself in a boots of this bad organizer, who is forced to repair a cost before all a above questions are answered, and, moreover, an pledge neighbor is dumping.

Do we determine that such elementary naming questions assistance to make a cost guess many some-more accurate? It is some-more difficult with IT projects since an answer to any doubt requires tough work, a research, a consult of aim users, etc.

So, how to calculate a many accurate app cost?

Following a gaunt proceed is a good resolution here. It says to take small, discernible and entirely pure steps. There are 6 stages that could be renowned in a ideal project. Within any of them a gaunt proceed and flexible growth methodologies have to be practical too.

1. Consulting

To guess a cost of this stage, a customarily thing indispensable from a patron is an idea. It gives an guess bargain of a devise range and either there will be a need for nontrivial solutions or innovations that could need a investigate to guess a cost of their development.

There is a large group that works together with a Business Analyst (Producer) during this theatre and consults him.

If not to go low into details, a elementary array of hourly talks with a patron helps to guess an app growth cost many some-more precisely, though this guess will still be flattery, so it’s improved not to do it.

This is what a patron gets during a finish of consulting:

  • A request – Consulting Report;
  • Business Model Canvas;
  • Sometimes – a essentially opposite idea, if a investigate shows that a marketplace is oversupplied with aspirant products or an thought is not realizable with complicated technical equipment.

2. UX Development

The outcomes of a prior theatre are a good start for clients even if they select to work serve with another company. Yet, if we do your work properly, it does not occur

Here a sorcery begins, a operative stairs into a work. He works closely with other professionals (developers, other designers and business analyst, of course).

At this theatre a group estimates a cost of:

  • UX Wireframes
  • App map screens (relations between screens)

There seem to be no need to explain how precious a above-stated information is for a accurate cost guess of a subsequent theatre (UI). Our knowledge shows that we never (!) surpass a UI growth cost if a patron agrees to a UX stage.

3. UI Development

Both a patron and a association come to this theatre entirely prepared. They totally know any other. Despite a fact that a UX engineer, who did a prior stage, can mostly do UI too, it is also excellent to send an app cost guess (and as a result, a growth of a stage) to another veteran of a department. It allows bringing a uninformed viewpoint to a project, that is really critical in a development.

At this theatre a following points are estimated:

  • Design research of aspirant products;
  • Development of several versions of a logo;
  • Development of several styles for categorical screens;
  • Development of interactive mockups;
  • Preparing of Design Guidelines.

This theatre is of good importance. Not customarily a UI operative participates in it, though also developers, other designers, a devise manager, a business analyst, a QA dilettante and infrequently even finish users. In other words, a work is concurrent between all meddlesome pivotal parties during any theatre and their feedback is maximally taken into account.

4. Early Planning

This theatre increases a correctness of a growth guess by several times.

The whole group takes partial in it.

The cost guess of this theatre consists of a good bargain of tedious technical things

In addition, here a group together with a client:

  • Identifies MVP (sets adult a list of facilities for it);
  • Grooms a product reserve (a minute list of all app facilities in a form of user Stories and exam cases);
  • Writes exam cases;
  • Develops technical specifications (if necessary);
  • Plans devise architecture.

5. MVP Development

Finally, we strech a indicate all has been started for. If during this impulse to ask clients to demeanour behind during what they have come with, it will make them grin

This app growth guess is a many formidable and bulky. Nevertheless, it is already usually a pretence to do it relying on a formula of a outrageous work a group has finished during prior stages.

In fact, this guess is a prepared reserve with user stories and exam cases to implement.

In addition, a guess of an app growth cost might embody a analysis of:

  • Work of a QA specialist;
  • Work of a devise manager depending on a role: from a ScrumMaster to a Product Owner (if a patron doesn’t have time for this);
  • Time, a group needs for SCRUM meetings;
  • Work of a DevOps engineer.

6. Ongoing development/Support

This theatre starts when a product goes on a marketplace and becomes successful, of course.  By this time a patron already has a outrageous volume of information from his initial users, that customarily influences a destiny of a devise dramatically. It can't be foreseen during a beginning, and there is no need in that.

In a nutshell…

Drawing a conclusion, it would be good to contend that this proceed does not always pledge 100% strike in a timeframes. It customarily reduces a attention normal commission of misses from 68% to 20-30% of a supposed teenager ones.

In 2013 MLSDev did some-more than 100 projects and in 2015 it was customarily about 20. Why is a disproportion so great? It is unhappy to confess though we were among a army of “flatterers” during a commencement since of miss of experience. As a result, a clients were payable and we had to demeanour for some-more projects to keep a bucket steady.

We have radically altered a proceed in new years. Unfortunately, people still adore “flattery”, that’s since we do fewer projects now. Nevertheless, a ones we do, we provide like a own, that creates them successful. Thereafter a clients lapse with a larger range of work, certain references and new ideas. This kind of truth has authorised us to leave a exemplary outsourcing indication of work behind and spin into an outsharing company.

What was it all about? Do not get fooled by flattery!

The essay How to Calculate a Most Precise App Cost was initial published on MLSDev.

Ivan Mak is a CCO and co-founder of MLSDev, one of a Top European IT companies specializing in mobile and web apps development, UI/UX and consulting.