The IFESS project had relatively strict deadlines imposed upon it which helped to guide our group effort at a steady pace towards the goal of a high quality working system and hence, customer satisfaction.
Early on, Dangerous Minds proposed a rough work plan to help judge our progress. This plan is represented in the following Gantt chart.
Estimating the necessary amount of time to complete the project was definitely one of the more difficult aspects of the software engineering process. This was especially true since none of us had worked on a project of this scale before, and were unfamiliar with our team members' skill levels.
In the end, our work effort had to be very dynamic in order to accommodate the group's individual circumstances. In particular, the following specific areas deviated significantly from the schedule:
More importantly though, we realized that there are a lot of other issues besides the "direct" project tasks that contribute significantly to the overall required effort. These are things that do not get budgeted time, and therefore have a sometimes unexpected impact on the project schedule. The following items are the most obvious examples:
Due to the fact that the time estimates were reasonable, they can be tweaked and re-used in the future. This is especially valuable in Dangerous Minds' aquisition of new contracts. We will be able to produce more accurate competitive bids, and more consistently budget ressources on similar projects