Dreaded It Project Budget & How To Avoid Avoid Common Pitfalls

Ahh, the bane of many an executive – The Budget. We all know how important it is to stick to one and how hard it can be sometimes.

When budgeting for Web and Mobile Development projects, heavy reliance is placed on project management estimations, timelines, and costs. Since just about every development is custom and therefore unique, there is no magic formula that exists that can help.

Being aware of consistent events that can affect your development budget is crucial to being able to avoid them and take steps to not have them wreak havoc on the project bottom line.

Cost Estimation & Underestimation

This one seems pretty obvious really. Items in your project could be more complicated than they first appear, or are perhaps missed entirely for “reasons”. At the top of the list for underestimating the cost and failing to estimate the number of actual hours involved in certain tasks, the only surefire way to mitigate this is to spend time, real-time, fully investigating every task before you start anything. Just make sure you have a budget allocated for this activity. An easy way to help anticipate this is to anticipate a 25% to 30% increase for each estimation in your planned budget depending on the complexity of the development component. And prepare for things taking longer than expected.


Scope Creep (beyond the agreed-upon costs)

No matter how well you prepare, change is inevitable and bound to occur in complex projects as understanding grows or new opportunities become apparent. Following underestimation, midway changes are by far the primary reason projects go over the budget.

When a project’s direction changes after key elements have been completed you must expect that more time and conversely more money will need to be invested above the original estimations.

Approach your projects with a mindset that ‘changes will happen’. Ensure good methodologies are in place to estimate, track and account for any changes, and if you can, limit the number of decision makers in your business so you can streamline any changes required.

Do You Know Where Your Website Budget Goes? Check Out This Infographic

Where Your Website Project Budget Goes

Project Management Cost Surprises

What is often left out of budgets is project management costs. Estimations for info gathering, planning, development, design, maintenance, and testing will all be there. But this one crucial element is frequently missed.

Project tasks that are included in managing a project include client correspondence, emails, and meetings, as well as sub-contractor management. Do not underestimate the work involved in managing a project as opposed to doing a project. A good rule of thumb is to increase estimations by 20% to cover these project management expenses if they are not itemised by your supplier in their estimates.

Track Your Time, Every Minute Counts

Time is money” – you have heard this phrase often. Guess what? It’s true! Your budget can work if you learn to accurately assess, estimate and track time. Time tracking does not have to be difficult at all. There are many systems and apps available to help. By using these tools you will be able to quickly see how project tasks and user stories are developing and whether they are on time or underestimated. Knowing this information quickly can mean costly budget overruns can be limited or even avoided.

Some Basic Questions To Ponder Over (And Ask The Developer) When Preparing Functionality Options

Present your complete list of desired website functionalities to your developer during the initial proposal process. This gives you the most accurate estimate by asking the following basic questions first:

  • Will I be able to edit the website by myself?
  • Will I require automated email functionality? Or a contact form? What kinds and how many?
  • Will I need to include online payment options?
  • Will I want any other special features?

Some Maintenance Questions To Ask When Going Live With A Website

Maintenance is way different than simply hosting services. Particularly when it comes to maintenance. If you’ve opted for maintenance, or require maintenance from a new agency, don’t hesitate to ask. This is especially true for e-commerce websites.

  • Do you need a Content Calendar to map out important events and updates for your website?
  • Do you have to create new content on a daily, weekly, monthly, and/or quarterly basis?
  • Do you have to review traffic reports and assess performance from time to time?
  • Do you need to be up-to-date with your website and plugins due to the complex functionality?

Without maintenance, a website can very quickly begin slipping on search engines, smooth functionality, performance upkeep, producing leads, and even steeply fall in traffic generation.

Considering the above factors in your next development project from the outset will help you considerably when budgeting what to spend. You will realize more on-time, on budget projects which is both good for you and your suppliers. View our successful Case Studies or Schedule a Call with Us for estimations.

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