The Importance of Scoping

August 28th, 2019

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else”
– Yogi Berra

At Treefrog, we value client success

As a digital transformation agency, our specialty is helping organizations tap into their full potential in the digital space; whether it’s underdeveloped or underutilized resources to drive change in the company or industry space.

Often when we start the conversation, there are so many unknowns that it can be hard to put a plan in place. For example, if you want to take your product or services online to sell, there are several things to consider:

  • What will the shipping be? By Weight? Location?
  • How will you handle taxes?
  • What about International currencies?
  • Inventory Management?
  • Discounts? Specials?

So the list goes on. Having a trusted partner to guide you through the process is essential. Whether it is an e-commerce system, ERP integration, building a customer portal, app development, augment Reality, or otherwise, we know the pain and uncertainty that can come with a project of this magnitude. Thus, we want to help you identify and reduce risk as much as possible.

To help reduce your risk, Scoping is extremely important in leading us in the proper direction. However, have you ever started a project with a plan and realized a stronger approach along the way? Digital projects can never be planned from start to finish, and they have several unknown variables in the early stages.  So, the best option is to prepare for a goal and make changes along the way to produce ample results.

If you have done renovations to your home, you may be familiar with this concept. At the start of the project, you explain to the contractor your vision, and a blueprint is created. However, once the renovations have begun changes must be made for a perfect result.

Most digital agencies will manage projects using a top-down approach (also known as the waterfall method). This fixed approach can cause projects to be unsuccessful as the plan is so set in stone there is no room for improvement along the way. The scope is often made at the start, with little room for change without a high cost. Often clients will be disappointed when great ideas are ignored to adhere to the timeline and budget. We find this is due to the three constraints faced by any project: Budget, Timeline, and Resources.

Typically referred to as the iron triangle, these constraints faced by project managers are the scope, schedule, and cost. They work interdependently together, and none of them can be adjusted without affecting the other.  For example, if the deadline of a project is moved up, the scope will be changed, as goals may not be achieved.

At Treefrog, we believe following a top-down approach often leads to disappointment and a lack of success. These fixed plans at the start of projects lead to distress, as there is a strict goal to maintain a scope, budget, and time constraints. However, like most things in life, it takes getting your hands dirty to figure out the best solution.

We have found that the following method reduces uncertainties based on continuous collaboration. The Scope/Discovery Process is unique to each client and includes some part of:

  •  Understanding the clients business goals
  • Defining the client’s target audience
  • Creating a list of tasks that will assist the client in achieving goals
  • Outlining in detail what we can offer the client

Although the discovery process helps the initial scope, there is always a cone of uncertainty when starting a new project.  This idea emerged from the engineering industry in the 1950s, but it is highly applicable to today’s digital world. The basic premise of this is that all projects have a large number of uncertainties in the early stages. However, as more hours are put in, and great ideas begin to flow masterpieces are created. The reason for this is, no two projects ever have:

  • The same requirements
  • The same people
  • The same technology
  • The same user audience
  • The same priorities & constraints
  • The same business strategy

We have learned to be agile in our creative process. Thus going through the initial scope and wireframing of a project increases the depth of knowledge, available technologies, budgets, and resources. This gives all involved the time to unpack uncertainties, brainstorm on the grand scope of the project, be upfront and honest with the expectations. Much like an actual treefrog, we are highly adaptable to change. We want our clients to love what we produce for them— and we want to brag about it too.

Do you have an idea or project that you haven’t fully conceptualized yet? Are you looking for some grounded feedback? Give us a call; we’d love to hear about your idea(s).

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