Saturday, 30 July 2011

That old scoping question!

We realise by now that the key to successful iMedia project development lies in the analysis performed upfront with the client – otherwise known as 'scoping' the project. There are different ways of approaching this dependent on your expertise, the market sector of the client, the business objectives and the proposed users. However you approach this important phase of your project, you can and should constantly improve it by learning from your mistakes, listening to your colleagues and checking up on the trends in your competitors.

In recognition of the difficulty of this scoping task, some companies are now offering it as a separate paid service. Now that's interesting, don't you think? They offer to go in and help the clients write a briefing document for other companies but they may well end up doing the project themselves, of course. Many iMedia companies know how difficult it is to get a client to state exactly what they want and then stick to it or pay for changes. There is constant pressure to begin a project before the true scope is known. How ingenious that some side-step this hassle by separating the process out into a piece of paid consultancy. Not bad, eh? Take a look at a few who offer this and see how they sell their service. It seems to make good sense.

webdev Studios use this approach quoting $80 an hour for it.

dotAgency approach this stage from a slightly different angle where the fee for scoping is a percentage of the larger project fee. They don't cut themselves out of the development part but offer a service to help with the definition of the project.

HP go for the middle ground where they will do a scoping document that the client can take on to others, but they are happy to develop the project as well taking the fee for the scoping off the full project budget (or building it in to the budget costs, as we see it).

All positive moves to demonstrate to clients the importance of this initial stage, we reckon. What do you do? Could this be an answer for you?

Just to remind you of what happens to your projects if the scoping is skimped, Tadd Barnes has some advice in, Scoping an Enterprise Website? Keys to avoiding Scope Creep.

He examines the role of revisions, testing different browser versions, adding a mobile version of a site, and integrating backend systems with the site as the worst offenders for causing scope creep Do you agree?