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August 6, 2020

White Rabbit Group’s 5-Step Estimate Process

Mark Luke
Mark Luke
Business Development

The estimate approach we use at White Rabbit Group is a simple, but effective process. Each project is unique and has different requirements, but the way we go about gathering that necessary information has become a well-oiled machine. By asking the right questions and running everything by our team of experts, our goal is to deliver you a detailed understanding of what we are hoping to build together. The article below gives you a high-level breakdown of our estimation process, from the initial gathering of requirements to final approval.

Step 1

Gather Requirements

Before we can deliver an estimate, we need to gain an understanding of what we are hoping to accomplish. The best way to do this is to get a call set up together to review everything we know about the project so far, along with any gaps that need to be addressed. We discuss your overall goals of the project, including both short and long-term expectations. With this information, our goal is to provide you with a clear understanding of the technical requirements, timeframe, and budget needed to fulfill your vision.

Below is a quick bullet list of items we will want to collect during this step:

  • Sitemap
  • Wireframes
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Design requirements
  • Required/optional features
  • Hosting needs
  • Budget constraints
  • Timeline
  • Maintenance needs
  • Scaling opportunities, etc.

Projects requiring relatively straightforward functionality are usually able to be estimated at no charge to you and can generally be turned around within 24 hours. When working on larger, more complex functionalities, a technical discovery is required in order to accurately assess the extent of work needed. In these cases, we propose a paid discovery period, generally between 10-100 hours, during which time we conduct a thorough deep dive in the technology, including accessing the backend at an admin level to fully understand the scope of work needed.

Our paid discovery process is catered to each individual project and can take on many forms. If you’d like more information on what a paid discovery may look like for your project, feel free to reach out to us anytime for some more information.

Ultimately, if you have a requirements document put together as well with the entire scope of what you want us to build, that is a great way for us to dive in if the project details are already documented. If needed, we may still need to hop on a call to run through any questions that still need to be addressed.

Step 2

Review

After the Gather Requirements phase, we get your estimate into our estimate queue. Our development team takes the information gathered and internally meets to review all requirements of the project to formulate an itemized breakdown of tasks. These tasks include research, design, development, QA, and project management, to name a few.

While every project is unique in its own right, the components of every build are generally familiar and repeatable in one form or another. Due to the fact that we’ve been building for years, we’ve gathered a team of experts who have countless hours of exposure to different project types. They draw from that experience to provide accurate estimates that you can rely on without needing to ever beta test on your project.

Step 3

Deliver

Once we have reviewed all tasks and requirements for the project, our team delivers a detailed breakdown of our estimate which includes line items of hours associated with each task involved. Our goal with this breakdown is to illustrate the list of tasks involved so there is a transparent understanding of what is involved and what time will be spent on during the development process.

Our estimates are generally on a “time and materials” basis, which gives you the opportunity to see which tasks are allocating the most hours. In a lot of cases, this can help you plan the order of features to be developed depending on the time or budget involved.

Review
Step 4

Refine

Once we deliver our estimate to you, we can help answer any further questions that may arise and together finalize the intended scope of the project. This is generally done over the course of a few emails or a follow up call(s), but once a final development plan is in place and budget is approved, we organize and deliver a formal Statement of Work (SOW). This SOW is a detailed gameplan of the entire project, including milestones and final deliverables.

This formal SOW acts as our agreement together regarding the final scope of work along with the agreed upon rate and deliverables. Occasionally, extra work is required during the course of the build which falls outside of the original project scope. Depending on the changes needed, we can either refine the scope or bill for the addition separately.

Document
Step 5

Build

Once approval of the SOW has been given, we are ready to build! As a company standard, we tend to operate at around an 80% capacity. This is intentional as it allows us to not only avoid burnout, but also be readily available for time-sensitive tasks as they arise. From the initial estimate request to when we begin work can be as little as 24 hours!

On the flip side of that, we can help come in during early conversations with your clients to offer technical advice from a feasibility standpoint. We can then circle back later to provide an accurate estimate once the project vision has been fully discovered; whatever is needed.

Conclusion

It is our goal to develop long-term partnerships and in doing so, we get to know how we work together and what to expect from the other during our estimate hand-offs. This helps us streamline the way we organize and share information, allowing us to deliver timely and accurate estimates.

Our estimate process is simple but effective because we like to build things right the first time. Our team has the experience to not only provide an accurate estimate, but provide the right solution as well. Asking the right questions helps to minimize surprises, which ultimately leads to a better working relationship and end result for the projects we build together.