Man hours calculation: Get costs estimation for software development

The most important thing in the software development process is costs estimation. Every business should have the ability to estimate for each project they have. There is a long process that leads to cost estimation. Besides costs, there is another important aspect that needs to be taken into account: How man-hour calculator works for a software project? We will take a deep look about it in this article.

Understanding Man hour calculator

Estimation helps have a knowledge of the budget needed as well as an idea of the time needed to complete the project. The time estimation can be easily translated into budget once we know man hour calculator. After analyzing the dependencies of all tasks, we can compute the time it will take to complete the whole project.

So what is man hours? A man-hour defines the amount of work done by an average IT specialist during one hour worked without any interruption. There are two separate concepts in man-hour:

  • Man: the specialist doing the task (developer, tester, etc.). It is important to define and differentiate each team involved in order to make a good estimation. Considering a backend developer when estimating load testing is not relevant.
  • Hour: 60 minutes of continuous work. A total hour spread over two days will still be counted as one hour. Resources optimization should be done during planning in order to avoid discontinuity as much as possible.

Two different ways to define the value:

  • Intermediate level: The time it takes to complete a task will differ depending on the experience level of the IT specialist working on the task. To clarify, a junior developer will need time to figure out how to implement a solution when an intermediate will implement it faster. In theory a senior level will be the fastest.
  • The average velocity of the team: this can be computed by dividing by the number of works the time they have spent completing the tasks. In this case, a man-hour can be very different from a team to another depending on the experience level of all the team members that form the development team.

How to calculate man-hours for a software project?

Most of the project estimation processes by man hour calculator start with steps below:

  • Firstly, understanding the scope of work.
  • Secondly, understanding the overall complexity of the project
  • Thirdly, divide the whole complex projects into simple manageable tasks and therefore easy to estimate
  • Then, based on experience, familiarity with the task and expertise; estimate these tasks one by one

When implementing a software project, there are several methodologies as well as good practices that development team adopts. Agile encourages the involvement of the development team at its design stage as well as during the estimation of the loads.

Before we browse some software development project estimation techniques, let’s define some concepts we need to better understand these techniques.

  • Backlog: A backlog is a group of completed tasks in order to complete a project.
  • User story: A user story is a simple unit of tasks, it defines what needs to be done in order to achieve a specific goal.
  • Story points: A story point is a unit of measure that translates the amount of work needed to complete a user story.

Planning poker or Scrum poker – man hour calculator

A planning poker is a practice by Agile methodology. During a planning poker, when the project is broken down into stories and everything is put in the backlog, the development team comes together to discuss the time needed to complete the project based on stories in backlog.

How man hours calculation works for a software project?
Estimation Poker Cards for Planning Poker

The term poker may suggest gambling or a random estimation of a task. Most important, during a planning poker, those who are going to realize the project will give their input on every task. Moreover, they discuss when estimations are very divergent.

Each member of the development team is given a card to express his perception of the complexity of each task. Cards contain the value: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 they are akin to the Fibonacci suites. Only we will have 20, 40 and 100 instead of 21, 34, 55 and three extra cards containing non-numeric value: the coffee card, the question mark card, and the infinity card.

Developers will first agree on the simplest user story in the backlog, which will serve as a reference and will be affected a story point value 1. Numbers that are closer to the value 1 express user stories that are simple and those that move away from 1 have a higher complexity. Infinity defines a very complex user story that has a complexity higher than 100. The developer will mark the question when he or she doesn’t know how to estimate the user story.

During a planning poker, man hour calculator or man-day does not measured tasks, but in terms of story points. The developers compute story points, using the average estimation. At the end of the planning, we will have the estimation of the whole project in terms of story points.

Experience-based estimation

Another approach consists of doing the estimation based on similar projects. The actual man hour calculator needed to complete them and adapt to the context of the software project to estimate. At this point, it is important to evaluate the complexity compared to the past projects taken as references. Once the complexity is defined, the actual man-hours needed to complete the similar projects will be multiplied by the complexity factor.

Externalize estimation

If the person who is trying to do the estimation has not the required background or knowledge to perform the estimation or is not familiar to how to estimate man hour calculator for a project, he can ask an external team.

Tools for man-hour calculator

Now we are going to browse some man-hour calculator tools used during software development project estimation

JIRA (or any Agile/Scrum tools)

With Jira and other Agile/Scrum man-hour calculator tools, you can do estimation first using planning poker techniques. We first estimate story points and then transform them into man-hours. Since the estimation process in software development is an evolutionary process, they can use past projects to refine the estimation process.

Cost Estimation Module for Easy Redmine – man-hour calculator

Easy Redmine is one of the most popular and widely used add-ons for the Redmine. Easy Redine has very simple and effective. Thus see the final cost of each action performed by the development team.

Ecosys Projects

This man hour calculator is a highly configurable excel-like solution for project estimation. The most important feature here is the possibility for tracking changes made in the estimation tools in each version. It is able to estimate projects in man-hours as well as provide the corresponding cost in other types of measure.

Microsoft Excel – man-hours calculation

Excel can perform from a very simple calculation to a complicated formula. Since they can improve the estimation process based on past experience, Excel estimation man-hour calculator tools can update with lessons learned from past projects.

To sum up with man-hour calculator

Whether man-hour calculator or man-day measures the time estimation, it is important to invest time and adopt the right method to have a time estimate as accurate as possible. Also, Arrowhitech is offering dedicated developers to support your projects for minimal investment and the lowest challenge. Our dedicated developers facilitate you to flexibly enhance your business scale while obtaining stability.