RE: Estimating a Project

Subject: RE: Estimating a Project
From: "David Hickey" <david -dot- hickey -at- cgi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2003 10:22:33 -0500


Everyone has their own way of estimating which, as John P. put it,
depends on your own experience. Only you know how fast you work, so only
you can figure out how long it will take you.

Personally, when I'm estimating a software documentation project, I
count the number of screens/windows in the app. Then I multiply that
number by 1.5 to 2 days per screen (depending on the complexity of the
app). Sometimes I'll add an extra 20% to the time to handle the
unexpected (especially if the app is in its infancy).

So if the app is a fairly complex tool and it has 20 windows in it, then
I would estimate it would take 40 working days to complete the

Of course, this is my billable time and it includes research, writing,
and editing. I then write up a schedule that details when the drafts
will be dropped off, when they are supposed to be returned, and when the
final product is ready. The schedule also has a clause that states that
if client is late in returning draft copies, then the writer gets more
time to deliver the final product.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you get the client to read this schedule and
sign-off on it. Hopefully, you'll never have to resort to it, but if the
client's app is late or if he doesn't respect the draft schedule, you
can fall back to it when you request an extension to the delivery date.
The contract, with this all important clause, has saved my bacon on more
than one occasion.
John David Hickey
Mtl_techwriter Moderator

Documentia Inc.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada eh?

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RE: Estimating a Project: From: Wade Courtney

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