Database n00b - how long will this task take?
July 31, 2012 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Estimate of how long it will take to develop an Access database.

I have a 5MB Excel spreadsheet that (for reasons listed below) I'd like to convert into an Access database. My database knowledge = zero. ( I work with them but do not know how to design, develop, code for, or administer.) No one in-office at my company has this skillset either, so I will be hiring a temp. Since the dataset is so small, I can't imagine this taking very long, but again, my database knowledge = zero. I need to tell the temp agency how long to contract this person. What timeframe should I give?

Using Access because:
we're an MS shop
need to allow multiple users access (but less than 10)
text-based data
relational data

Thanks for your help! Apologies in advance if I've failed to provide necessary info.
posted by sideofwry to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This should be reaaaaally easy for someone familiar with Access development - it sounds like you just need to overcome some of the hurdles of Excel and possibly do a little querying, right? I'd say that for someone totally unfamiliar with your environment (but familiar with Access), transitioning a flat-file spreadsheet into a simple, searchable, shareable Access DB is probably a two or three-day job at most (that inclues time for the inevitable unforeseen hurdles).
posted by julthumbscrew at 8:16 AM on July 31, 2012

Normalizing the spreadsheet into tables probably wouldn't take all of a day; as long as all you want is a database, you shouldn't be charged for more than 16 hours.

Now, if you want a way to add, modify or delete data in the database, or queries/reports, that's an Access application, and that can take considerably longer. The two shouldn't be confused with one another simply because the components of both are in the same Windows application.
posted by Mooski at 8:26 AM on July 31, 2012 [2 favorites]

How is the spreadsheet updated? Do you have have a plan to address issues after it is built? How will you be outputting the data?

It could be much trickier than you'd think, depending on those answers. I'd also strongly urge you to have a plan for training someone to support it - it will probably require modification or adjustment at some point.
posted by winna at 8:30 AM on July 31, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for these answers so far. Yes, a necessary component is the ability to add/modify/delete data going forward.
posted by sideofwry at 9:15 AM on July 31, 2012

If people on your team that have no knowledge of access are going to be trained to delete/modify data in it- I strongly urge you to spend the money hiring someone to set up automatic backups of your data on a very regular basis.

It also sounds like you'll need the temp to create an easy process for you to maintain the database onwards, document that process, and train at least one of you to do it. I'd add about 8 hrs just for that.
posted by sarahnicolesays at 10:20 AM on July 31, 2012

i'm an access temp. i'd probably take about three days to get this kind of project done depending on the data sources and how automated you would want them to be. most of the time would be spent creating and refining the forms necessary for the team to perform the add/modify/delete data functions you wish.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 10:40 AM on July 31, 2012

A good way to start is to get someone in for one day just to scope out the task, document what you have and what you want and they can look at your data and estimate how long it will take.
posted by Lanark at 10:50 AM on July 31, 2012

As for so many projects, at the beginning you have only a vague notion of all that you want and need. You'll want to have forms for adding, deleting, and modifying data. You'll also want to have ways to view the data (reports). Then you'll think of other things, and of course those automatic backups. Then someone will point out that what everybody really needs is the ability to do XYZ, which would be so convenient in the database, and everyone agrees that would be terrific. And so on.

I'd say about a month.
posted by exphysicist345 at 5:50 PM on July 31, 2012

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