EstiApp

Simple estimates in minutes.

The Journey of my first SaaS Startup

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I’ve had this idea in my head for years.

A simple project estimation app to help figure out what needs to be done, how long it will take and how much will it cost.

I called it EstiApp.

I actually first registered the domain name EstiApp.com in April of 2011, did a little work on it, but never fully jumped in and started focusing on building it.

I did some simple sketches and then some balsamiq mockups but then just stalled. My kids were born, my wife and I launched an agency and life just got busy.

In early 2016, working on another large project with a client I realized that the same problem still existed and there was no really good simple solution for it.

I made the decision to start investing more time and money into this project and here we are.

My goal with this blog is to document this journey as both a way to tell our story but also as tool to help other entrepreneurs working on their own startups.

What is EstiApp?

I’ve been doing business analysis work in large enterprises for over a decade, mainly working on large multi-million dollar waterfall projects.

Waterfall is a method for executing projects and the process looks like this.

agile-project-management1

The idea is that you complete one task before moving on to the next in a cascading manner. It’s not the best method for project success but it is still widely used around the world.

The problem I want to solve

Where EstiApp fits in is the pre project phase. The estimation or proposal phase of a project.

The point in time where business stakeholders are considering a project, building a business case and inevitably asking; “What’s this going to cost and how long will it take?”

Over the years I have witnessed and experienced the frustration with figuring out before a project kicked off, what needed to be done, how long it would take and how much it would cost to complete quickly and easily.

Whenever people were faced, myself included with answering these questions, a spreadsheet was opened and the process usually started from scratch thinking about what needed to be done and listing them out. When I drew a blank on what else needed to be done, I would start googling for process steps and project templates for ideas of other tasks I might need to do.

When the project involved many people, the process got more complex and time consuming as the spreadsheet would be emailed around to various people for input, followed by review meetings to get to a point where everyone was comfortable with the estimates.

It is a painful process full of holes and the results are rarely accurate.

For the past 15 years, I’ve worked with businesses large and small across many industries. I’ve worked on $400 million dollar transformation projects and $1,000 dollar website development projects and everything in between.

Over the years, project after project, this same challenge emerged.

People have a hard time getting started estimating work. The less experienced they are, the less they know what needs to be done to make the idea or project they have come to life successfully.

Figuring out what needs to be done, how long it will take and how much will it cost are some hard questions to answer.

EstiApp’s mission is to simplify and speed up the process to answering this question in the pre-project phase for various types of projects.

The vision for the solution

EstiApp is a simple web based project estimation tool to help anyone from analysts, estimators, contractors, designers, developers & project managers create fast project estimates.

So where are we at today?

EstiApp is currently a side project so I’m still consulting with clients to pay the bills but am committed to getting this project off the ground and out into the world.

I spent a few months doing research and writing a project overview document to get many of the ideas and use cases I thought of that would be good.

I setup Jira to help manage the work and Invision to help with UI mockups and UX prototyping.

I recruited a UX designer and we’ve been working through the design process for our MVP.

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Stay tuned… more updates to come soon.

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