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Time estimates

Expert 100+
P: 431
Hello everyone. I am not 100% on where to post this question but since I am web PHP developer it somehow seams appropriate to post here.

I been web developer for some years now and never came across the problem that I didn't solve one way or another. However there are aspects of web development that don't have anything to do with programming but are still very important and I am curious about all possible approaches. How do you answer question: "How long is going to take you to...". What do you think is reasonable amount one should take to answer questions like that? A day? An hour? Two hours? Is it different from project to project? How do you deal with situation when you simply need more time to give estimate? Do you simply make a wild guess and hope for the best or you try to get more time? I am really looking forward to any input on this one so thank you all in advance.
Feb 9 '12 #1
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Expert 100+
P: 1,584
The answer...depends on:

1. Is it crucial that you meet the deadline?
2. How complex is the issue?
3. Have you done it before?

If someone asks me if I could add a button to the dashboard of the application to show the about page. It would take me let's say 1 hour. I'd double it and say 2 Hours development, 1 hour testing. (I work for a corporate company)

If they ask me to develop a site and hand me a 20 page requirements document, I'd tell them I need to review this and architect it. 1 week to review it/plan it, 1 week to architect it. I'd tell them that I'll give them an answer in two weeks.

It's better to get something done and delivered quicker, than to promise something and fail on that promise. The more you develop and get experience, the easier it will get to estimate work. There will be cases where you're asked for something you've never done and can't imagine how to do (i.e. someone says make a video a background of a site), you just have to guess, then double or triple that time to create a good padding.


Feb 10 '12 #2

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