While it would be nice to be able to simply glance at the calendar when discussing a project with a client and say, “hmmm… yeah, that shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll have that app up and running by next Thursday,” it’s just not possible.
It’s simply inherent in the custom software development business that every single project is a brand new experience. As an experienced developer with over 18 years behind me and a team of talented professionals whom I trust to do a great job, I’m confident in telling any current or prospective client that we’re going to make them a high-quality application that accomplishes all that they desire and more.
But I can’t promise a due date. And if that’s what they’re demanding, I’ll usually walk away.
Why I can’t promise a date.
There are dozens of moving parts in every web development project. A complex back end development project is a great example:
- The client company’s decision makers
- The client company’s experts
- The client company’s end users
- The hosting company (or status of the private server, if applicable)
- The client’s technological infrastructure
- The thoroughness of the client’s project documentation and specs
- The client’s schedules
- My team’s schedules
- My team’s level of expertise on every aspect of this new project
- Coordination of time zones
- Requesting and receiving feedback from the client for each deliverable
- … and the list goes on…
Every single one of those variables can and will create hurdles to a perfectly smooth and effortless development project at some point along the way. It’s no reflection on any one person or entity involved, it’s simply a realistic understanding of the complexities of completing a large project that involves a vast group of disconnected people, places, and things.
Since none of those variables can be effectively removed from the equation or perfectly predicted, if we’re going to be honest at the project’s outset, we’re going to have to be flexible on the amount of time it’s going to take.
Why I’m still comfortable laying out a timeline
All of that being said, I also understand and appreciate that no client in their right mind is going to sign a contract for services that may or may not ever get done.
That’s why, when my team is working with a new client or starting up a new project for an existing client, I put a lot of time and effort into the initial planning and research stages right up front. This allows me to assess the entire project objectively, confirm as many of those variables as I possibly can and get the beast under control, at least to a limited extent.
Then, I’m in a good position to determine approximately how long it’s going to take to complete the project with a high-quality end product, and to lay out exactly what I need from the client in order to stick to that timeline.
With this matter settled, both my team and the client can move forward with the project with a basic understanding of how long it’s going to take and what we need to do to make that goal due date a reality.
So, if you’re wondering how long it will take to build a complex back end development application for you business, the answer (of course) is “it depends.”
For a more accurate and helpful answer, contact us today and we’ll discuss your project in detail to come to a reasonable estimate.