It’s in the details: the importance of scoping
Everyone who has worked on a web or design project knows the feeling – you have just been given a brief from a client (or, increasingly often, a quick email outline), and you are keen to jump straight into quoting and locking everything in so you can start getting your hands dirty and covered in creative juices.
Hold on there Mr/Mrs Enthusiastic!
It’s sometimes good to firstly ask yourself: how much do you really know about the client’s needs, expectations and knowledge?
Before even starting a proposal or planning stages of a website, these questions should be answered (and thoroughly!) through a clear and comprehensive scoping process.
I have learnt from personal experience that clients – although we love them to death – are sometimes a fickle bunch, and often need a little coaxing and prodding to help them work out what it really is that they want.
This process of scoping also helps avoid any awkward suprises down the track, when it’s suddenly realised that the website also needs a 10 000 product e-commerce store and a forum added on! (The dreaded ‘Scope Creep’)
A questionnaire or similar is often really useful in getting clients to think about their needs and requirements for the project.
Getting clients to write down considered answers can assist in making things clearer in their own mind (as well as yours!) and sharpen up the fuzzy bits and details of the requirements of the project.
The inexhaustible resource Smashing Magazine has some great ideas, checklists, and sample questionnaires.
So before launching head first and feet up into a new project – take the time to scope it properly ! It may just save you a whole lot of headaches later down the track….