Providing a prospective client with an estimate of time and cost for a project can be the foundation stone on which the future relationship is built. At Fenwick, before we start a Dynamics NAV ERP implementation project we estimate how long we think the project will take. This in turn allows us to estimate the project cost. During a project all team members record the time that they spend. Because we have completed a large number of projects we have a base of project history data that helps us to estimate new projects. We split each project down into the following components:

  1. Project Planning Workshop
  2. Infrastructure & Software Installation
  3. Process & Requirements Workshops
  4. Data Preparation & Migration
  5. System Design (including prototyping)
  6. Pilot Sessions
  7. Testing
  8. Planning for and Cut over to Live Operation
  9. Project Management
  10. Go-Live Support

Our history data shows us that some of these components consistently represent a specific percentage of a total project. This provides us with a useful cross check for our new estimates. Of course, the most difficult time to estimate a project is right at the beginning – important information may not have been provided; personnel with knowledge of operations may not have been involved in discussions; and so on – but because we have a good base of history and experience, we have a solid foundation for our estimates. If we win business we are confident that we can deliver what we have quoted for. If we lose business on price, we know we have been honest and realistic, and buying business by underquoting never results in a happy relationship.

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Written By Peter R Hill

Peter has been in the Information Services industry for more than forty years with broad experience covering a number of industries working in both Australia and New Zealand. He holds an MBA from LaTrobe University. For seventeen years Peter headed and was a director of the International Software Benchmarking Standards Group (ISBSG) a not-for-profit organisation with a mission of improving the performance of IT through the provision of project history data. He has served on a number of Boards of IT companies. In 2010 Peter became an non-executive director of Fenwick Software. Peter has been a speaker at conferences in Australia, Asia, Europe, Brazil and the USA.   He has had a number of articles published, covering key aspects of the Information Services industry.  He is a past Chairman, Secretary and Fellow of the Australian Computer Society. He is a member of the Committee of Management of Writers Victoria. Peter has compiled and edited five books, including: "Practical Software Project Estimation"  published by McGraw-Hill. In his leisure time, Peter enjoys motor sport and writing.

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