Software development project estimation

The article is a part of Code Inspiration’s software development outsourcing Knowledge Base.

Moving on with the second part of our series of articles on the topic what actually can impact the estimation besides the hourly rate of the company, we would cover such points as calendar timeline for the delivery, source code and its ownership and points related to security and maintenance.

For those who didn’t have a chance to read our first part of the article, you can easily do it just following this link. In the first part we have mentioned some important points about the hourly rate itself, why and how it may vary from company to company. Also there you would find how the technological stack of the team and availability of the developers can impact the proposal.


To avoid misunderstanding, ask in advance how many working hours and how many calendar days the company will need to deliver. Also pay attention, working days, e. i business days are not calendar days.

In most cases when you will receive the estimation  for your project you will see the amount of working hours required for the completion of the task. Sometimes companies lower the price not going full time. That is to say, if one moth of a developer is equal 160 – 176 hours from month to month. You can get an estimation of 160 hours which will be billed, and 2 or three months as the calendar timeline. In case the project is not urgent and you can wait, it is a good option to get a discount, however, if you are in a hurry, you should be aware about this scenario in advance.


Make sure the ownership of the source code should be transferred to you after the completion.

One of the most important points from my point of view is the ownership of the source code. I spoke to many clients who had an issue with their developers and software development companies. The main idea was the following, the customer discussed the estimation for the delivery of the software and the price for that. The software development company delivered the software, the customer paid for the software the sum which was indicated in the contract. When the customer asked for the source code, the company refused to provide it and explained, that if the customer is willing to have the rights for the source code –  he should pay 4 times more. Otherwise, they will keep the source code and the customer would need to pay a so-called “subscription” for maintenance and future updates.


The last point I wanted to cover in this article is the question of maintenance and security.

For most of the software which contains sensitive information just SSL is not enough. Ask about the level of the security which is included into the current estimation.

For most of the software, especially developed from scratch, maintenance for at least 1-3 months is included. It means that all the bug fixes found within 3 moths after the delivery would be fixed for free. Pay attention, not after the release, but after delivery. As the software development company is obliged to deliver the software and it will depend on the decision of the client when to release, usually the contract for the maintenance would be “attached” to the delivery date.

If the software contains sensitive information and requires high level of security – discuss this in advance. And don’t hesitate to ask for the first month of free maintenance if the software is developed by the development team from scratch.

Hope these insights will help you to understand better the process of estimations and what can impact the estimation of a software development company. Also, I tried to explain some situations which you should try to avoid. Now when you know what to pay attention to – you would most likely stay away from some fraud situation described above.

As the first part of the article already attracted our readers and we go a lot of points on how the estimation may change from company to company, we decided to continue this series of articles and will proceed with the feedback and comments received from IT contributors.

The article is a part of Code Inspiration’s software development outsourcing Knowledge Base.