Estimation Factors for CRM Implementations

We are often asked to scope out and estimate the work effort on greenfield and ongoing CRM implementations.

Here is the methodology that can be used to scope, estimate and resource load an implementation. I have prepared the methodology for Salesforce implementations

  1. Prepare Estimation Factors
  2.  Put hours against each estimation factor
  3.  Add flak /risk quotient to the total
  4.  Do a weekly Gantt chart and resource load to arrive at Man weeks or Man hours
  5.  Adjust the resource load as per the total of the estimation factors

Preparation of estimation factors– Estimation factors are design and development elements which can be timed. Estimation factors are of 2 types – Foundational(Design) and Tactical (Development). It is to note that design elements should be figured out on an implementation before development can start. Lot of implementations make a fundamental mistake of not considering the design elements while estimation. There is a misconception that Agile can only be started with development items. This is not true as design elements can be solved for via Agile. User stories can be prepared for design elements also.

To give you an idea – here is a list of Design(Foundational) and Development estimation factors of CRM Implementations. This list can be easily customized depending on the context of the implementation.

Design(Foundational) Estimation Factors – Data Model, Business Processes, Searches, Process persona flow, UI and Process Automation, Data Migration, Data Quality, Integration, Reporting and Analysis, Agile and Test planning

Development estimation factors – Custom objects, Number of Look Ups/Master detail relationships, Record types, Layouts, Fields, Apps, Number of Process builders, number of validations and formulas, workflows, approvals and flows, Number of roles, profiles, permission sets, sharing rules, Org wide defaults, Number of records to be migrated, number of integrations of various types like data virtualization, remote call in, request and response, fire and forget, number of apex classes, triggers, lightning classes, test classes, and other implementable elements. It is very important to estimate unite testing, code migration, performance/integration/UAT testing effort Along with cut off and go live.

It is impossible to get the number for development estimation factors unless we have defined the foundational design elements.

  • Time the estimation factors– Estimation factors can be put into an excel in 2 sections -> Foundational and Development. Factors under each section should be timed in hours.
  • Add contingency/flak/risk quotient to the total– Sum the hours of all the estimation factors and add a contingency factor of 15/20 percent which ever is applicable in your context. For example, if the total of estimation factors is 1000 Hours then add 15% percent to it as a contingency factor which makes it 1000+150=1150 Hours
  • Do a weekly Gantt chart and resource load to arrive at Man weeks or Man hours–  After the estimation total is arrived, prepare a weekly Gantt chart for the project. For example f the project is to be completed in 30 weeks then mark each column in excel as a week and prepare a bar chart displaying the schedule of the project. Schedule of the project can be broadly divided into Analysis, design, development, QA , Cut-off and Go-live. At the same time call out the resources required and their contribution per week for the project.
    For e.g. if a solution architect is required 50 percent every week on a project for 30 weeks then mark it as 0.5 for every week and the total comes out to be 15 weeks for the time project time period of 30 weeks. Repeat this for other roles and arrive at the total man weeks for the project which can then be converted into a dollar figure depending on hourly offshore and onsite rates.
  • Adjust the resource load as per the total of the estimation factors of CRM Implementations – Man weeks converted into hours should be equal to the total of the estimation hours.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding the above methodology. I will put a template for download sometime later.

I hope the above methodology added to your knowledge. Your likes, share and comments will motivate me to keep writing.



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