How to Estimate Software Development Project in Man-Hours (software estimate)

In order to make an exact estimation and get how to provide software estimate for software development, it is important to know the scope of work. software development budgets were purely based upon the number of man-hours that were put into it. Estimation can be thrown randomly to advance rapidly but that would not truly make logic. There is a long method that leads to cost estimation.

Understanding the Man-Hour

The estimate is important because it supports not only have a knowledge of the economical needed but also have an idea of the time wanted to complete the project. The time approximation can be easily translated into budget once we know how much man-hour costs and after investigating the dependencies of all tasks, we can calculate the time it will take to whole the whole project.

Software Estimate -Understand Man Hours

There are two separate perceptions in man-hour:

Man: the expert doing the task (developer, tester, etc.). It is significant to define and distinguish each team involved to make a good estimate. Seeing a backend designer when estimating load testing is not applicable. Each approximation has to be made on the precise “man.”

Hour: 60 minutes of incessant work. It is significant to note and understand the absence of disruption while doing the estimation. A total hour spend over two days will still be added together as one hour; properties optimization should be done during planning to avoid break as much as possible. 

Fortune 50+ companies and world-class brands trust our software development services.

We offer services:

  • Application development

  • Product development and maintenance

  • Cloud services

  • Software testing

How to Estimate a Software Project?

Now that we have increased more understanding of man-hour at what it signifies, we are going to see how to estimate a software project and particularly how-to estimation a software project in man-hours. To make a correct estimation and get how to deliver estimates for software expansion, it is important to appreciate the scope of work.

How to Estimate Software Project

When executing a software project, there are numerous practices and good practices that the development team accepts. Agility was believed as a good methodology to ensure the excellence of delivery. Agile encourages the involvement of the development team at its design phase and during the approximation of the loads.

Before we look at some software development project estimate techniques, let’s define some concepts we want to better understand these methods.

Backlog: A backlog is a group of responsibilities that necessity to be completed to comprehensive a project.

User story: A user story is a humble unit of tasks; it describes what wants to be done to accomplish a specific goal.

Story points: A story point is a unit of measure that interprets the amount of work wanted to complete a user story.

With these descriptions in mind, we are going to see how to deliver estimates for software development.

Software Project Estimate Techniques 

There are practical software estimate techniques that help to appraise future projects most operatively. Let’s explore some of them:

Planning (or Scrum) poker

An influential technique that is brought by Agile project management. It twitches with in-between the project into separate topographies. Then the team of developers holds a meeting where each creator responds how much time he/she considers expenditure on a proper feature. And the most contentious approximations are discussed inside the team.

Software Estimate

Externalize Estimation

If the being who is frustrating to do the estimation has not the required background or knowledge to do the estimation or is not familiar with how to estimate hours for a project, he can ask an outside team. Since it is significant to have a precise estimation.

Experience-based estimation

Another method consists of doing the estimation founded on similar projects, the actual man-hours wanted to complete them and familiarize to the context of the software estimate. At this point, it is significant to evaluate the complexity associated with the past projects taken as references. Once the difficulty is defined, the actual man-hours needed to whole the similar schemes will be multiplied by the difficulty factor.

Experience Based Software Estimate

Comparison to the previous projects

If your present project is similar to the ones we’ve previously completed, then it’s stress-free for programmer’s team to produce an accurate time estimate. During this method, we definitely keep in mind the difficulty of the new app and growth it by planned man-hours.

Top-down & Bottom-up

When using a top-down software development estimation technique, your project is disintegrated into particular topographies and projected apart from others. After that, the result recaps and you have a time to software estimate for the full project. Bottom-up is recycled to do the opposite: assessing the project as a whole. If the difference between the individual’s two methods is significant, our scheme managers find a goal and reach a balance.

Admit your estimation errors promptly

It’s unconditionally OK that your initial estimation will be efficient after the detection stage. The more details the customer provides, the improved you know how many man-hours to plan for the respective process. And the rather you find out the early scope has changed, the better, as you can always deliberate with your client how to curtail the scope, change a milestone limit or add more roles to your project team.

Tools for Estimation

JIRA (or any Agile/Scrum tools)

With Jira and other Agile/Scrum tools, you can do the estimation initial using planning poker methods. We first estimate level points and then convert them into man-hours. Since the software estimate process in software development is an evolutionary process, past developments can be used to improve the estimation process. The time tracker is an excellent feature in Jira.

Cost Estimation Module for Easy Redmine

Easy Redmine is one of the most popular and broadly used add-ons for the Redmine. Value to say that many users have not ever operated with pure Redmine separately from this reshaped version. Easy Redmine has a very simple yet active and easy to use Cost Estimation feature which permits users to allot a cost or hourly amount for each task and thus see the final cost of each action completed by the development team.

Software Development - Cost Estimation

Ecosys Projects

Ecosys Projects is a very configurable Excel-like answer for project estimation. The most significant feature here is the opportunity for tracking changes completed in the estimation tools, variations are versioned easily. It is able to not only software estimate projects in man-hours but can also offer the corresponding price in other types of measure like money.

Microsoft Excel

Excel is mainly used for the estimation process in software development. Excel can create from a very simple calculation to a difficult formula. Since the estimation process can be enhanced based on past knowledge, Excel estimation tools can be reorganized with lessons learned from past projects.

Microsoft Excel - Estimation tool


As you might have observed, estimation is a complex but important part of your development project. It’s compulsory in order to positively release it on time and on budget. There are a lot of drawbacks and experience requirements to perform it exactly so that all the stakeholders were satisfied. Nevertheless, the leading IT sellers implement all the modern project estimation methods to produce it for a customer in the most accurate way.

Looking for a software developer or start a new project, click the button below!