Ground Floor: Cedar Rapids' Intelikit makes project estimation faster

Software industry veteran launches business to aid developers

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By Deborah Neyens, correspondent

CEDAR RAPIDS — After more than a decade as the head of a software services company, Manish Kumar has found that the biggest challenge of a software development project often comes before the project work even begins.

“In the software industry, there is no easy way to do project estimation,” he said.

Since 2007, Kumar has served as the CEO of Cedar Rapids-based Comnez Inc., which provides web and mobile application software development services to the North American market. In that time, Comnez has completed more than a thousand projects for its clients.

Kumar said that the key to a successful project — one that delivers quality software within the client’s budget — is a detailed scope of work document.

“Scope documents can be hundreds of pages long,” he said. “They have to talk about every functionality in detail. They get really complicated and can take several weeks to complete.”

The problem with creating such detailed scopes of work is that it often falls to the software services company to complete this task on its own dime, with neither the time nor the resources to do so.

“A lot of times we would just pass on a project because of the length of time to build an estimate when we had no clue if we would even get the project,” Kumar said. “We were being very selective, which was hurting our growth. The alternative is building an estimate without a lot of details, which usually results in a project going over budget and causing a lot of frustration.”

Wanting to address this quandary, which he knew was not unique to his own company, Kumar cut back on his work at Comnez to develop a solution. In April 2014, he came up the idea for a software estimation tool to streamline the process of preparing a scope of work document.

“It cuts down the time to build a scope document by 90 percent or more,” he said of Quick FPA, the software he built himself over the last two years.

In December, Kumar founded a new business, Intelekit Corporation. The new company will serve as an umbrella for Quick FPA and future product development initiatives.

Intelekit launched Quick FPA on Feb. 2. Kumar said the new product has been well-received so far, with dozens of sign-ups through mostly social media marketing.

Quick FPA is just the beginning for his new product-focused business, Kumar said. He plans to grow Intelekit and add employees within the next six months. His long-term goal is to offer a set of project management tools that will improve software engineering processes and help software developers succeed with their own projects.

“I want to help other service providers do what I’ve been doing for the past 10 years,” he said. “I have the knowledge and experience to help others.”

At a Glance

Owner: Manish Kumar

Business: Intelekit Corporation

Address: 1231 Park Place NE, Cedar Rapids

Phone: (407) 324-6205

Email: author@quickfpa.com

Website: www.intelekit.com

Know a company or manager who has been in business for less than a year that would be ideal for “Ground Floor”? Contact Francie Williamson at francie.williamson@thegazette.com

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