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It might sound surprising, but estimating the exact time it will take to build a website isn’t always the easiest thing to do, even for the best of web developers. Ultimately, proper time estimations come down to two things: breaking a project into its bite-sized chunks, and the developer drawing from his or her experience to understand how long each chunk will take to complete. 

Today a web development project could take nine hours to complete. Tomorrow another might take 59 hours. This is because some websites require designs, features and functionalities that require more intensive coding and development complexities than others, which take longer to build and incorporate. 

Coffee Creative Studio follows an extensive, multi-phase process when benchmarking development times and costs. Our Account Executives have several meetings with clients to understand their respective needs and expectations, and to determine feasible deadlines based on the wants and needs expressed throughout the development process. As with every agency, when any new complexity or functionality is requested beyond the initial site quotation or revert allowances, timeframes and ultimately costs change. 

A few common causes behind time lags and costing requotes stem from client requests to add/remove functionalities, change approved designs, rework content, the addition of page tabs, alternative technology requirements, or a desire for unique features that a developer might have not built before.  These time-affecting tasks apply to sites built from scratch and to redevelopments. They fall into four categories, viz Known Knowns; Known Unknowns, Unknown Knowns and Unknown Unknowns.

Known Knowns 

A “known known” refers to features that a developer has built several times in the past for different websites. The developer is well-versed in the process of building that requirement, and as a result, can get it done quickly. Time and cost estimates are easier to determine in this regard, with developers rarely (if ever) requiring additional time to build a functionality, unless the request comes after final revert approval. “Known knowns” found across our standard websites include Galleries, Slideshows, Accordions, Contact Forms and so forth.

Known Unknowns 

This is when a developer knows what needs to be done, but the time it takes to achieve it is harder to predict. Depending on the nature of the requirement, a rough estimate is provided. Fixing bugs is a common “known unknown.” Developers know what needs to be done to fix the bug, but the nature of the fix makes determining the time to complete it a little harder to predict.

For example: A recent server software update is not compatible with a particular part of a website site. That bug has to be identified and researched to rewrite it to conform to new standards.  It also pertains to functionality we have an understanding of how to do because it is an adaption of a Known Known, and there is an element to it that is new, which would create its own amount of troubleshooting.

 It’s not uncommon for “known unknowns” to take a little longer to build. 

Unknown Knowns

“Unknown Knowns” refers to elements our developers know how to do, but were not aware would be required within the development process. These cannot be planned for. They are identified while development is underway. They affect build time as they need to be resolved or actioned for the website to be developed as needed and function at its best. As with bugs and new feature development, whilst troubleshooting and building, it can become a known path to solve the current issue. This can either shorten the route, or extend it based on the discovery.

Unknown Unknowns

Pretty much everything you didn’t even know you didn’t know is characterised as an unknown unknown. Newly launched functionalities that require solving for the first time fall into this category. In the case of bugs, these unknown unknowns come to incompatibility or primarily conflicts that have no verbose errors that make solving an issue close to impossible.

Most web development unknown unknowns are difficult to imagine in advance and thus require much more time to build. When faced with these, our developers embrace the scrum principle i.e. put their heads together to think about solutions to achieve the task. In so doing, they convert “unknown unknowns” into “known unknowns” and utilise the appropriate team members skillset to achieve it.  

Ultimately, building a professional website takes time. How long? That is determined by what your website needs to include and the skill required to achieve them. Contact us today for an obligation-free web development quote or learn more by checking out our blog on What You Should Be Paying for Your Website. 

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