Many clients do not understand why they should pay for an up-front “scoping” exercise that does not directly result in software being delivered. “Scoping” allows both the software buyer and the software developer to get on the same page by establishing well-defined expectations for the outcome of the project. Proper scoping is crucial to a successful, on-time and on-budget software project.
To begin a scoping exercise, a Project Manager will identify the key people involved in defining and ultimately using the software product. The Software Project Manager meets with these stakeholders, documents the existing business processes, discusses ways in which the processes may be improved as a result of the proposed software project, and identifies any other functional requirements of the software. After the meetings are completed, the Project Manager creates a scoping document which describes the solution to be built based on the information gathered.
With a scoping document in hand, a software consultant is able to easily develop an effort estimate to implement the project. Scoping projects typically cost no more than 10% to 15% of the actual cost to develop and implement the software solution. As such, a scoping project can generally give a software buyer an “order of magnitude” estimate of the resulting project. Most importantly, however, a detailed scope provides clear direction to the software architects and developers who will be implementing the solution, avoiding unnecessary “back-and-forth” with the software buyer’s staff and ensuring that the resulting software solution precisely meets the buyer’s needs. The result: better results and reduced project risk.