Scoping a Project
Every year, long before the ice thaws and the ground softens, my father takes a cup of coffee out to the farthest corner of the yard and studies a medium-sized rectangle of roped off terrain that will become his garden. The footage is limited, living in a modest suburb in Michigan, but in his mind, the objectives are organized into columns and rows.
- Anxiety: What environmental factors should be concern me?
- Trust: Will I get out what I put in?
- Expectations: What level of commitment should I prepare for, in terms of budget? Labor? Upkeep?
- Comfort: What is a realistic yield for an endeavor of this size?
When breaking ground on any mission that will require his time, energy, and resources, my father knows that thorough, comprehensive planning, coupled with a solid foundation, will make all the difference in the success of his venture.
The importance of well-written production scope has always been easy to communicate and readily received, but for unknown reasons, this document is all-too-often missing from RFPs. And while my father’s garden may seem an odd metaphor for web and application development, it should show that we scope non-web projects all the time without realizing. And his garden is a reasonably good visual for putting a scope into somewhat relatable terms, demonstrating its necessity, and giving a little color to a rather dry subject for backyard reading.