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I'm quite new to project management. I have a software project in mind and would like to manage it the correct way.

The app basically allows movie theater owners to announce their upcoming movies, schedules and such, so users of the app can be up to date and get movie suggestions.

I'm quite related to regular software project management, but in this particular case, negotiations with multiple movie theater managers and owners in order to keep the movie schedule database up to date, which can be made in two ways:

  • Hire people to maintain the databases up to date (expensive).
  • Provide a web application to allow establishments to add schedules and such Foursquare-style (cheaper and wiser).

Then, my questions are: How effort, time and costs are estimated for this "negotiation" part? How a project like this is usually handled?

Thanks.

EDIT: I think the first option to hire people to maintain the database is expensive in terms of money and time. In terms of time because they will have to take time to ask and talk to people in each movie theater to get the updated schedules. I think the second option is more feasible because usually owners and managers have the updated information at hand and also, some other useful information they do not share easily; like offers and such.

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The best thing would be making movie theater managers and owners an offer they cannot refuse... so that they themselves do the bulk of the job for you. However, you have not considered the possibility of them (or spammers or whomever) gaming the system and turning it into a steaming pile of something unpleasant. In your case the crux of the question is not on software, but rather on peopleware. Would suggest posting more on your reasons for concluding that hiring people to maintain the database is expensive (1st question is open, but the narrative just states the conclusion w/o reasons). –  Deer Hunter Oct 25 '12 at 20:17
    
I updated the question. Please, see the first edit. –  Luis Aguilar Oct 26 '12 at 17:41
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Okay, so you have apparently made the choice to roll out a web app. Ideally, it must sell itself - be as intuitive as possible, easy to update, not prone to spamming/gaming. You'd need at least one guinea pig movie owner in the alpha/usability testing/closed beta phase, a couple more in public beta and if all works fine, the whole bunch of them will flock to you at rollout. Am wary of using PM stock of knowledge to basically guesstimate the uptake of an app of unknown quality; you'd have to use your judgement (and guinea pigs) for that. –  Deer Hunter Oct 26 '12 at 17:59
    
I'm still a bit unclear on what the question is. Are you trying to understand what the cost of making this decision is? Is the concern that the cost/effort of negotiating with cinema owners might outweigh the savings of getting them to update the information themselves? –  Willl Oct 29 '12 at 14:54
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I suggest taking a look at: pm.stackexchange.com/questions/852/… for a good overview of estimation techniques. Not sure anyone can give a definitive answer on how long a negotiation period might take - each situation is so specific. –  Willl Nov 1 '12 at 13:59
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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

In short, doesn't matter, just ship it.

You still need to prove that your idea solves a real problem, and that it'll gain traction. Doesn't matter now if you are updating it by hand (faster to test) or with an automated tool (better later), the core of your idea is to show people movie theater shows with an app, not allow companies to register it this or that way.

You don't even need to make a deal with a company, I'd update it myself (take a look at Google Movies, just damn easy!) at first and focus on getting users. If people don't use it, the tools and negotiations you develop around it are useless. On the other hand, with a solid user base, companies will offer themselves to be featured in your app.

Test your core idea first, go for the rest later.

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You're right. I think I'm just giving it too much thought. –  Luis Aguilar Nov 28 '12 at 17:23
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