How Is An App Estimated

If you came here for a template on how an application is estimated, I got some bad news, there is no universal standard and it’s always on a case by case basis. Main reason for this being, is that the app estimation process is highly dependent on YOU!

The amount of pre-work which you’ve done before you approach your future application development partner determines how your application estimation process will be.

For this reason, in this article, we’ll explore the estimation process for the most common case, which is when an application is just at the idea or concept stage, without any type of documentation to back it up.

In this type of situation, it’s very common to organize what’s called a product discovery phase or product mapping workshop; they go by different names depending on the organization and what they would like to call it.

The product discovery phase usually lasts anywhere from one week to four weeks, depending on how easy or complex the product is. The process itself is broken down into seven levels of analysis, initially starting with a high level understanding of the product and with each next level diving deeper and deeper into the product’s analysis.

Level one is the drafting of the product canvas. Beginning to talk about features and functionality prior to establishing the product canvas is not advised.

The product canvas which in essence dictates the product’s business requirements, through it, translates to and validates the future talk on the features and functionality. The point of the product canvas is to establish who this product is for, why will users use it and how will this product solve their problems and grow.

Level two is establishing the product’s technical requirements. On which infrastructure will the product be hosted on? Which platforms will this product work on? Will this product integrate with any 3rd party services? Which language(s) will this product be in? How many roles will be interacting with the product, etc…

Level three is storyboarding. No it’s not wire-framing, or user experience drafting or drawing of any screens what-so-ever. Storyboarding is a visual representation of which sections the product’s users will have access to and how they will navigate throughout the product.

Level four is the technical drafting of all of the product’s features. And when we say all, we mean 100% all of them, no generalizations or oversight.

Level five is estimating the UI/UX design of all of the screens in the application and how many hours it would take.

Level six as well is estimating the development or programming of all of the screens in the application as well as the back-end infrastructure and data-base to understand how many hours their implementation will take.

Level seven and the final level is combining the design estimation with the development estimation to put together a project roadmap which details how long a product’s design and development will last and what can be expected at each milestone while the project is running.

And Voila ! The application estimation process is complete.