Scoping a Project
Part II: Trust
Your scope is going to be something you rely on to benchmark your progress throughout the production schedule. Just like plotting a route on your GPS, it’s going to help you to transform your perspective from the “how far I still need to go” to the far less intimidating “how much ground I’ve already covered.” It evolves from an outline of objectives into a checklist of achievements. We all know how gratifying it can be to cross-off completed tasks, no matter how minor they might have been.
If you’re working with a production team to realize this project, then trust is all the more valuable. From your team’s point of view, they will be assured that there will be no last-minute surprises, and no failed objectives that were assumed by yourself or any member of the production team to be implicit. The scope is an arbitrator that promises, before even the first step is taken, that there won’t be any disputes throughout production, because every last task is precisely and clearly expressed. And just as ambiguity might compromise the trust you place in your development team, this article has made you an expert at writing a production scope, and your expertly written scope will exponentially reinforce your production team’s trust in you.
From your own perspective, embarking on a web project might be a brave new world for you. It might be a strange and intimidating landscape, filled with unforeseen obstacles and indecipherable techno-babble. How are you expected to trust something that you may not fully understand? The unfortunate answer is: You probably won’t—not fully, anyway. But the good news is that you have a comprehensive and thorough scope document written in plain English that everyone can understand. And as long as you trust this tool, then any apprehensions you have (about your development team, or the realization of your project) will be assuaged, because the mutual respect for your scope will be the final word on whether your project is ready for delivery, or if there’s still more work to be done. Since you and your team respect the scope, everybody is going to get along just fine.
It helps to think of your scope as a blueprint for building a house. Without the blueprint, you have no trust in what’s being built. With a rough blueprint—where a section may simply say “bathroom”—your understanding of which fixtures will be included may be drastically different from those performing the construction. With a detailed scope and subsequent conversations with the production team, everyone has an exact and identical understanding of how the bathroom will look before construction even begins. And knowing you can return to the blueprint if there are discrepancies, at any step along the way, helps instill confidence and trust in every member of the team, and every step of the process.