Ah, project scope! When working in digital agencies in the 2000s I came up with this methodology to make sense of client meetings and still use it when I have to.
The project scope is a list of everything I need to provide a scope-of-work for a contract for an estimated cost.
The Kickoff Process
A client kickoff often starts with a description of what they want us to do, and I let them talk through what they want to say, taking notes. After the client talks through their piece, I'll ask questions to fill out this matrix of four ideas:
- Intention — the immediate actions that they want to take with us
- Motivation — the reason they are doing it
- Expectation — what they think the results will be once
- Urgency - why do this thing right now instead of later
I'm looking for answers in the following areas so I understand the context of the job. While it isn't strictly related to the contract work itself, they do give me a broader picture of the clients strategic and tactical posture. Since clients deal with a lot of stresses, knowing about them helps with client relationship management. Also, it will jog loose important details like, "oh, did I mention that we want to use this for a trade show display in two weeks?" that may not have occurred to them as being important details.
Next, we need to find out some more details, which goes much easier knowing the context we established earlier.
- Dependencies - who else is dependent on this work, and who are we dependent on
- Stakeholders - who else has a vested interested or review authority
- Risks - what things could go wrong, or are worried about
- Success metrics - what is considered a passing project
Lastly, figuring out what we have to work with. These are estimates to get the client thinking about the production calendar and their own readiness to start.
- Resources - what resources are needed, and who will provide them?
- Dates & Deliverables - what concrete deliverables will be provided by when
- Budget - how much money is available for what?
The Project Brief
After this meeting, I'll write a succinct brief that covers everything we talked, adding useful information about process, what they can do themselves, and other information that I think would help the client get what they want for the best value for their time and money. I want an empowered client!
My old design website has a Terms of Work section that was written with this project scoping methodology in mind.