Building A New Website? You Need A Scoping Document
Marketing departments, agency owners, and business owners love the idea of ditching their old dodgy website and replacing it with something flashy and new.
Unfortunately, that often means diving head first into finding a developer or agency, regurgitating a bunch of facts, signing a proposal, and getting stuck right in.
That’s a recipe for a scope creep disaster.
Without a comprehensive scoping document, you’ll no doubt throw your developer a wide range of curve balls.
Additional integrations, pages, content, or design changes, just to name a few.
What’s in a scoping document, exactly?
A good scoping document includes the following sections:
The purpose of this section is to define the purpose of your project.
Each goal should be short and to the point, but complete.
If there are multiple goals, include them all.
Most website projects have 6 phases/goals:
- Scoping workshop to create a scoping document
- High Fidelity designs to outline the look and feel of your online presence
- Development phase, which results in a complete, live website
- Hosting discovery – research the requirements for more complex projects
- Marketing and SEO – outline an ongoing plan to rank higher, and reach are larger, more specific audience
- Development Retainer – identify ongoing updates and changes to specify a monthly workload.
All deliverables that will be provided upon project completion. For example, each phase will have their own outcome that can be used in related project phases. E.g. A design phase will have a full, pixel perfect design file that the development team can use to build the final product.
A list of criteria that the deliverables must meet for you to accept them.
Highlighting results you won’t accept, like missed due dates, low quality or buggy features, poor communication, etc. is very important.
You can be specific here, but consider that you need to be realistic.
Adding “Be #1 on Google on every search ever” is not realistic.
Limitations on the project, such as a lack of time or money. If you want to use specific methods or workflows, or your own developers, be sure to include it in your constraints.
Assumptions are any project factors that are considered to be true, real, or certain without empirical proof or demonstration.
Realistically speaking, it’s impossible to plan a project without making a few assumptions.
This section allows you to prepare safeguards so that if any assumption is proven false, the impact on project delivery will be minimal.
Anything you want to clarify that is out of scope and will not be included in the project. Listing items here will mean they will not be included in the deliverables. Sometimes, exclusions aren’t obvious. Anything that may be seen as a gray area, should be put here.
That sounds like a lot of work, can’t we start without it?
Well, yes, maybe, we could, but starting the design & development phase without a scoping document is going to be far too open ended, and expose your project to scope creep and other potential problems.
Building a website, especially one that you want to generate leads, without fully researching the requirements is like building a house without a plan.
Will it provide you with shelter?
Maybe, but I highly doubt your new house won’t have nails sticking out of the floor, and corridors leading to nowhere.
Can you just do it for me?
Yes! We can!
In the past, we would attempt to gather everything we needed to start, but since adopting a “no scope, no website” policy (which we mostly stick to, outside of a few outliers), our development estimates have been far more accurate, including timelines, investment, and estimated traffic.
If you’re looking to build a new website, reach out to STAFFLINK Web Services to book in time for you and your stakeholders to complete a scoping workshop with us.
The end result will be a document you can use internally, or used by us to give you an accurate website build price.
Design, Development & Beyond!
Now that you have your scoping document and project planned out, you can finally send an invoice for development over to your accounts manager to get paid.
If you need a new website, or want to upgrade your existing one, check out our website offerings here, and get in touch.