How to explain to non-technical person why the task will take much longer then they think?

Posted by Mag20 on Programmers See other posts from Programmers or by Mag20
Published on 2011-02-13T15:06:31Z Indexed on 2011/02/13 15:32 UTC
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Almost every developer has to answer questions from business side like: Why is going to take 2 days to add this simple contact form?

When developer estimates this task, they may divide it into steps:

  • make some changes to Database
  • optimize DB changes for speed
  • add front end HTML
  • write server side code
  • add validation
  • add client side javascript
  • use unit tests
  • make sure SEO is setup is working
  • implement email confirmation
  • refactor and optimize the code for speed
  • ...

These maybe hard to explain to non-technical person, who basically sees the whole task as just putting together some HTML and creating a table to store the data. To them it could be 2 hours MAX.

So is there a better way to explain why the estimate is high to non-developer?

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