Estimating Deadlines: The Truth about Timing App Development

The Truth about Timing App Development

Our young hero, the dashing app development manager from Magora, has mounted his trusty steed – the swivelling office chair and is working diligently on his latest application. *Ring-Ring* His eyes glance at the incoming number. It’s the customer, Alpha Omega Corporation, Ltd. I wonder what they thought of the last round of sketches, he thinks to himself as he picks up the phone.

“Good morning, Ms. Johnson!”

“Two weeks?!”

“I’m doing well, thanks. Is everything alright there?”

“Two weeks?! Are you crazy?”

“I see you have something on your mind. Perhaps you are referring to the estimated time for your application to be completed?”

“Two weeks?! That’s impossible.”

“I think I’ve understood. Well, Ms. Johnson, I see you are slightly surprised by the length of time it takes. Would you like me to walk you through it to show why we need two weeks?”

“Shocking, Mr. Bespoke Hero? It’s outrageous! All I wanted is a simple app with three fields and two buttons. My son does some programming at school and he said he could do this in one afternoon.”

“Ms. Johnson, I want to assure you that two weeks is a calculated estimate of how long this will take. I have taken every small detail into account, all the tasks and experts that are involved in your project are ensuring you receive the best product we can give you. I assure you, our team is very experienced and has developed many projects and recognise the many small factors you might not have. For example, you want integration of the app with your current database, don’t you?”

“What? Do I need integration? What sort of question is that? You should know! You’re the app project manager!.”

“Well, you see that requires a level of engineering that goes well beyond simply pasting some boxes. We have to build that architecture and then test it against all the possible ways a user could use or misuse it.”

“Alright, well while you are at it, I want to speak about some improvements to our mock-up. Could you split this field into two? I like the symmetry. Also, put parameters on these. We can’t have people listing their birth date as predating the Romans! And this is going to be a drop down menu, is it not?”

“Sure, I can add that. Where will we get the options for this list?”

“What do you mean? From the server, obviously!”

“Right, but you may remember that we discussed this in our meeting last week. There are no options on the server.”

“They aren’t there? How can that… Ah, yes! That was from a different project. It’s coming back to me. Well, in any event, we must add them. Find them and put them here. I’ll send you the contact information for the developer on that project and you all can sort it out amongst yourselves. By the by, he hasn’t worked with us for some time, but I’m sure he’ll be more than happy with a trip down memory lane. He’ll show you… most likely.”

“Right… well, then… I’ll need some time to get in touch. I hope we can convince him.”

“He was friendly when he worked for us. He should come around for you. You’re the manager of this app project, after all. Now, look at that, we’ve discussed every…”

“Erm, Ms. Johnson, not quite.”

“No? What else?”

“Well, for starters, would you like some sort of image or design in the background?”

“Naturally! Are you proposing we display a cold, grey nothingness? It makes me think of the vast emptiness of the universe…”

“Sorry, Ms. Johnson, I didn’t mean for an existential crisis. I simply meant we need an image or a design from your designer.”


“Well, I was told he is on holiday.”

“Right, well he will return on Monday. For the time being, put a picture of my cat, Mr. Bojangles. Everyone loves cats. They’re soothing. Oh, and I meant the following Monday – not after this upcoming one, but the one after that. Well, see now, we have it all sorted… finally!”

“Erm, Ms. Johnson… *cough* not quite.”

“What else?”

“Well, we have discussed with you two options for how the interface will work. Have you decided which one you prefer?”

“Ah, yes. Well done! They’re both very intuitive, so why throw either out. Let’s give users the options to choose in the settings. … Ah, yes, we need to add a ‘Settings’ feature. Oh, oh! I know this one. Just throw a cog up into the corner. And have it open a new window. And since we are adding this, let’s take full advantage: add some choices. We’ll send you a list.”

“I see. You’d like us to add some functionality that changes the way the app works?”

“Well, yes, of course I want them to change the way the app operates – they’re settings! They’re mostly superficial anyway. Change the text size and colour, hide video and images, and that sort of thing. I’ve seen your work. You’ll be fine!”

“Well, Ms. Johnson, what about…”

“Hold on. I’m looking at the initial agreement here… Vertical… Horizontal…? Ah, yes it should work regardless of how the device is positioned. And don’t forget we want our old version to be compatible too. … We have some notes here about logs and documentation, but that’s it. It all sounds pretty straightforward to me.”

“I agree, Ms. Johnson. I must explain to you firstly that the two weeks we predicted hasn’t taken into account the new features you are speaking about now. I took a good hard look at all your project entailed and gave you a number that represents the best case scenario to get your app to you and have the high-quality, functionality and value that you asked for. Our team can and will do everything you asked for initially, as well as the additions you’ve requested. We’re well on track and everyone is doing their part.”

“Now, that’s the spirit! So, how long do you think this is all really going to take?”

“Sure. I’ll just crunch a few numbers here…. designer holiday… cat pictures… Right! Well, it looks like we’ll have everything ready to go in three weeks.”

“Three Weeks?!”

And so the app project manager continued on until the twilight of that Tuesday afternoon, using his wits and great certainty in his quest to vanquish all doubt. The team of developers worked night and day, building, testing and leaving nothing to chance until they finished their journey and the legendary app – three weeks later.

The Moral of the Story:

It’s pointless trying to convince a programmer that completing his project could be done faster than he calculated. He may underestimate how long it may take, but overestimating – not likely!

And now if you want to know app creation cost – we are ready to answer.

About DiTesco

Francisco Perez a.k.a. DiTesco is a Business Consultant and an Internet Marketer. Throughout his network, you will mainly find information and tips on how to establish a successful Home Based Business. He also provides basic and easy to understand SEO and Making Money Online tips. You can follow @ditesco on Twitter.