Getting Project Scope Right

October 25, 2019 Yoni Barkan

As I mentioned in my previous blog, the Art of Estimation relies on the skills and knowledge of the estimator, The Science of Estimation lies in the tools and frameworks we develop to support the process. 

We all know a well-defined project scope determines the success of the project before you even begin. Many professional service organizations struggle to consistently develop accurate project scope. Moreover, doing this quickly is a significant challenge. But with Estimator, you can easily manage some of the common obstacles in getting project scope right. 

What's In and What's Out

One of the biggest challenges facing project estimators is clarifying what’s in scope and what’s out. We know this is part art, but with Estimator you can manage the logistics of this in several ways. 

First, you can build a variety of project scope items and save the templates to a Scope Library. If you’re currently using spreadsheets to define your scope items, no problem; you can easily copy and paste your data into Estimator to build new templates in your library. 

Then, when you need to scope a new project, you can select the pre-defined template (or templates) that most closely match the new project. You can select multiple templates when creating a new scope. So, if you have three templates that all contain some elements of the new project, simply select all of them and then click to adjust what’s in and what’s out. You won’t believe the valuable time and effort this will save! 

A second great scope-refining feature in Estimator is Scope Questions. You can determine the most frequent iterations on scope and configure the application to help your team refine scope faster during the definition stage. An example could be, “Does your customer want Single Sign On?” Depending on the answer, the details of the scope items are either included in or excluded from the project scope. When you’re scoping a new project, you simply answer the question, and Estimator does the rest. 

Your repository of pre-defined scope will enable you to document your customer’s requirements fast and then to collaborate and iterate on them. You can quickly search the Scope Library by name, group, or practice to find the right match. 

Chunk out what you know 

When you’re building out your templates, chunking out the work into smaller categories will make it easier to get the scope right. And, when you’re preparing the estimate, the granularity will improve the accuracy of the estimate. 

What do I mean by chunking out the work? So glad you asked. Let’s look at a generic Salesforce Sales Cloud implementation. You can define Lead Management as a scope item, and that will work. But why not divide Lead Management into three categories – Lead Object, Lead Assignment, and Lead Intake Channels? And then further divide Lead Intake channels by Leads Lists, Web-to-Lead, CTI, and Live Agent. You can even double down and add scoping questions to guide your Solution Engineers to choose only the applicable items. Now you have very granular scope items, which make estimating much easier. 

There’s another advantage to chunking out the work: When selecting templates from the Scope Library, you can quickly go through the template and deselect items you know will not be part of the scope. The more detail you provide when setting up your templates will make this process a very powerful way to get project scope right. 

As a professional services organization, like yours, we know the challenges in defining project scope. We developed Estimator to help our team improve scoping and estimating our projects. And now, we’re excited to share it with you! 

Want to learn more? Schedule a demo with us. We would love to show you how Estimator can help you get project scope right. 

Going to Dreamforce this year? Come visit us in Moscone South at Booth #1512 or at Trailhead in Moscone West.

About the Author

Yoni Barkan

Yoni Barkan is Appirio’s VP of Products and Innovation and loves to explore new ways to leverage cloud solutions to close the experience gap. Yoni’s work has been focused within the CRM space since 2003 and includes projects ranging from education to manufacturing to government. He spent many years documenting scope, building timelines, allocating resources and pricing projects with Estimator. Yoni now lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn (the land of strollers and dogs), with his two children, lovely wife, and cuddly little 85-pound pit bull. He was born, raised, and educated in California. (Go Bears!)

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