Defining a clear project scope is vital to the success of any software development project. Without clear definition, the breadth of the project will continue to creep outward while the scheduled milestones slip out of reach.

  1. Identify Needs

The first step in defining project scope is to clearly define the problem. What prompted the project in the first place? Are current systems antiquated? Is information stored in disparate systems? A clear understanding of the problem provides a great starting point for defining the project scope.

At a minimum, the project should address each aspect of the current problem from all perspectives. Interview end users and stakeholders to fully define the needs of each group; then work from those needs to create a list of minimal functionalities.

  1. Create a Fence

Clearly define aspects that will be outside the scope of the project; this will figuratively fence-in the development team ensuring that, in their zealous passion to create a perfect solution, they don’t begin working on an aspect of the project that is unplanned and unbudgeted.

  1. Define a Strategy

A common challenge associated with any software development project is the basic nuts and bolts of the technical solution. Finding the best technology stack, programming language and database based on the perspective needs of the completed solution is necessary to begin development.

The key to making the right choices is to have a clear understanding of the project objectives. How many end-users are expected? What are the integrations needs? What type of technical support is desired? There are an infinite number of technologies that can be utilized on any given project; knowing which solutions will provide the best fit comes from experience.

Working within a clearly defined scope provides project development teams with structure. Team members are more productive because they understand the size of project and are able to work toward specific, attainable milestones.