I have an idea for a simple IT solution that matches students in class to make study groups, it's for a uni assignment. What's an appropriate way to estimate the cost of developing and maintaining this software/solution?

The tension of the project is:

  • I can do the matchmaking process with an excel spread sheet and saves so many hassles and costs
  • But then the service would have limited scalability, need to have a lot of volunteers and/or pay staff just for this one simple task
  • Limits other ideas for a "check-in" system which notifies each other what content people in the group has interacted with and lectures reviewed.
  • Cost seems to bottom out once initial investment is made but is still followed by maintenance cost
  • 1
    Are you a student or a teacher at the university? Do you have any programming skills?
    – Bogdan
    Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 11:34
  • 1
    There are (generally) three ways to estimate - by analogy (find similar software), by parameter (measure it) and by expert. Given that you're asking, I assume that the second and third options are unworkable. You probably want to estimate by finding similar software and basing the estimate on analogous values
    – MCW
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 18:29
  • @Bogdan Yes i am. We just had an idea to match people into groups and have that be a university service. Wasn't so so sure what's a fair and reasonable way for us to say it would cost.
    – Ivan
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 11:46

1 Answer 1


I suggest you research Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). You'll find quite a few checklists and examples to give your some ideas. You could start here:


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