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As PMI research on project management practices shows, over 50% of the projects that fail in the early stages are failing due to poor planning. Inexact cost estimation or incapability of defining clearly the project's objectives and milestones can end up with your project before it even starts.
Of course the scope of the project can change to some extent during the implementation phase but outlining the most important deliverables is crucial if you want to succeed.
Preparing a detailed plan will also help you to deal with the changes in a more effective way if they occur during the project execution.
In this article I will share with you our best practices in project scoping based on multiple CRM and Web projects completed successfully for our clients. I will also go with you through the typical project scoping we do at SoftwareSupp. After reading this article you will be able to decide which option is better for you - posting your project directly using our scoping tool or booking a free scoping session with our software consultant first.
In a simple way, the scope of a project is a list of what has to be delivered during the realization phase in order to achieve project’s objectives together with the characteristics of these deliverables, order, budget and timeline.
One of the best agile project management methodologies, Prince 2, says that every project must have at least two logical phases - a planning phase and an implementation phase. In short, it is impossible to effectively manage the implementation phase if we do not have a solid benchmark, which is the scope.
It doesn’t matter what kind of project management technique you are using, the common practice is to divide the project into tasks. Especially if your project is a complex one you might want to break it down into smaller parts. This will allow you to get estimates of time and budget as exact as possible.
Every project is different and as such needs an individual approach. However, based on our experience from several dozens of completed projects we know that there are some common practices that can help you to plan every kind of software related project. We prepared for you a short list of 6 things you have in mind while doing your project scoping:
While creating your project at SoftwareSupp you can choose from the list of almost 60 software available. If the software you need is not on the list just add it by typing its name manually in the field.
Now when you have the list of the processes and your software stack defined you can think of what are the areas of improvement/bottlenecks in those processes? In order to make the processes more efficient it is not always necessary to add more tools to your technology stack. Sometimes you can obtain better results by integrating the tools you already have to automate your processes. It might even occur that after the integrations are done correctly you will need less tools and you will be able to cut your licences costs.
Our project manager will be happy to go with you through your technology stack during the free scoping session and advise you about the integration capabilities of your software.
In order to ensure the proper change management and smooth implementation of technology we strongly recommend breaking the project into smaller tasks. You should define the outcome you want to achieve with each task and establish a clear deadline for each of it. This will allow you to follow the project progress and to make necessary adjustments in a more efficient way.
At SoftwareSupp we understand that the project scoping is not only about defining the deliverables but also about documenting them.
Before you start spending your money we want you to have a project plan as precise as possible.
That is why we strongly recommend using our scoping tool while posting your SoftwareSupp projects. The scoping tool will help you to define your project’s task and milestones.
Knowing with details your requirements we will be able to prepare for you an exact offer with the time and budget estimate for each part of the project, just like this one:
When you already know how much time and effort you will have to spend for your project you can think of the resources you will need in order to execute it properly.
Are there people in your company with the right set of skills to run this project? Would it be possible to engage them in this project without compromising their daily responsibilities?
In many cases you can cut the cost of the project implementation by outsourcing it to external service providers like SoftwareSupp. It will not only reduce the budget you will have to spend on the project but also you will get the guarantee that the project will be executed by an experienced specialist in the particular field.
There are different ways you can calculate the budget that should be allocated to the project. You can estimate the budget by the number of hours needed to complete each task and the hourly rate of the person responsible for the project implementation in case you decide to outsource it. This method however includes some risks, as the number of hours is always an estimate and it can go higher during the project implementation. The other way is to estimate the budget using the comparison with similar projects, however, you might not always have access to such data
At SoftwareSupp your project will be estimated by specialists according to industry standards and you will always know the full price upfront, before the project will start.
In case you already know the maximum budget you want to spend on your project you can always put it in non-obligatory budget field so our expert can adjust their offers accordingly.
Now when you know what are the most important elements of project scoping I will show you how the SoftwareSupp scoping tool can help you to define your project scope in just a few minutes. At the same time you can go to our “post project” page to see how the process looks like in practice.
Regardless of the technology you are going to use if your project falls into the categories of CRM, Website building or E-commerce you can use our suggestions drop-down list. The first step is to select the right category for your project:
You can choose more than one category or change it after adding some task already.
Once it is done, it is time to select particular tasks you want to be completed within your project (if you want to see the suggestions for all the categories just keep the “All” as a category. In case you don't want to see any suggestions at all and add all the tasks manually just remove the “All” from the field and keep it in blank).
The list of the suggestions was prepared by the SoftwareSupp team after carefully analyzing dozens of CRM and web projects we have carried out so far. As we acknowledge that every project needs an individual approach we have also noticed that some tasks tend to repeat in most of the projects more than the others. Also, many of our clients are not fully aware of the wide range of possibilities the software they are using (or they are planning to use) offers. Here is where our suggestions list might help them to discover features they had no idea existed and define the scope of the project better.
You can add as many tasks as you want and remove them if necessary. If there is a task in your mind that you can’t find on the list just add it by manually typing it into the selected field.
I know that some of the project requirements might be difficult to define as a task. That is why you also have the option to add the description of your project - however, it is not obligatory.
In this field you can write your expectations, what is the result you would like to achieve with this project or maybe some possible questions:
In case you have already prepared a document or a chart with your project requirements or maybe you want to add some mock-up designs to your web project don’t worry. You will be able to add the links and photos/screenshots in the very next steps of posting your project.
But what if you have already defined the objectives but you are not sure which technology will be the best fit for your project? Or maybe you would like someone to help you with the scope and to show you all the possibilities of different technologies before you make the final decision ? No worries, at SoftwareSupp we offer you a free scoping session with our software consultant to make sure we understand well your needs and that we can offer you the optimal solution.
Scoping session is a free meeting with our specialized software consultant and our project manager where we go with you through your ideas and advice on the solutions.
Be prepared for answering a lot of questions during the session.