Whether it is your first digital project or you’ve already launched several of them, you probably will start with the same question. What is the best approach to cover all the aspects of product planning and preparation for a project? To align people with your vision, brainstorm new ideas, and finalize with a clear plan to start, go for a scoping workshop.
Starting a software project discovery
Basically, the project discovery phase is the first step in the new project. It should always come first before any project scope or line of code is written.
During this stage, all stakeholders work together and collect project requirements, determine project scope, create software requirements specifications, choose technology stack, define roles, and estimate costs and deadlines.
As a result, it will help you avoid costly mistakes in the future e.g. developing unnecessary features, extra costs, etc. The main goal is to create a thorough plan of how the project development will proceed.
What is scoping workshop?
Scoping or ideation workshop is full-day sessions where all the parties discuss the details of the vision and project. It is the best way to clarify what the needs are, uncover areas that haven’t been considered before, define the risks, and work on the project planning requirements.
To help you spend less time on talks and avoid pointless discussions we prepared for you an example scenario of how to run a workshop with your team.
How to plan to scoping workshop?
Invite all members of your team who you think, can actively contribute. For example, it could be CTO, COO, CEO, software architect, project manager, and designer. Before the meeting gather all the materials you have including notes, user flow samples, and some drafts – all that will help your team to better understand the main idea.
Remember that the main goal of the workshop is to answer all the “WHAT? WHEN? WHY? WHO? HOW?” questions to coordinate the chaos and brainstorming, where everyone will be trying to put their two cents into the discussion.
Example questions for scoping session:
- Strategy and business • What is the main goal of the project?
• What problems are we trying to solve?
• What is the business model?
• Are there any similar products on the market?
• How our product will differentiate from existing ones?
- Product design and development • What is the main feature set for this project?
• What features should be built first?
• Who will prepare Software Requirements Specification (SRS) and backlog?
• Are there any technical constraints?
• Should we start with Prototype/MVP/Proof of Concept?
• What technology and stack should we choose?
• Should we hire an internal team or choose a vendor?
- User experience • What do we know about our end-users?
• What are their needs or pain points? (Try to prepare a detailed description)
• What is the expected user journey?
• Should we create mock-ups of user stories? Who will create it?
• What devices will support this application?
- Project management • What are key roles and responsibilities?
• What are the potential risks in this project? How to prevent them?
• What tools will be used for communication and collaboration during the project?
• How often should we conduct team meetings?
• How we will track the progress of the project?
- Goals and measurments • What is the project’s timeframe?
• What is the project budget?
• What are the measurements of success?
• Should we set up KPIs?
Scoping meeting example agenda
You can join an on-site or remote scoping workshop, but of course, on-site meetings are more effective. During the meeting, all the essential aspects of the project should be covered: user types and flows, processes, integration interfaces, and ideas.
You can start with the business aspects and then move to the technical and execution side. Identify who is responsible for leading each topic to engage all team members. Dedicate and plan time to discuss the following topics:
- Scoping meeting agenda
- Business case overview
- The vision of the project
- Goals and measurements
- User segments, flows, and paths
- User stories
- List of the main features
- Risks and issues
- Project key roles and responsibilities
In order to work in the same direction with a team, and let people understand business reasons and values, it is crucial to set conversion measures and KPIs. During the project execution, it will help make the decision about the directions and track the performance after roll-out to check how the product follows your goals.
What is next?
After brainstorming and understanding your business goals put all the workshop results together and write a scope of work. Define the deliverables, timeline, and key milestones of the project to get started. Once you end up with a well-defined scope of work all you need to do is to define the backlog for the first few sprints/iterations, set up the right team for the project, and start the development.