Andrew Amann
March 19, 2021

5 Steps for Outlining the Scope of Your App Development Project 

When initiating a project to build a mobile or web-based app, explicitly defining its scope becomes critical. After all, the success of any digital venture depends on clearly detailing the requirements, timeline, and deliverables. Most software engineers and project managers understand the great costs incurred when scope changes in midstream.

Working with the business stakeholders to determine the project requirements and schedule is a must before starting work. This approach includes conducting surveys, crafting user personas, and determining a branding strategy. While some startups might prefer a less structured approach, established companies benefit by using their resources towards planning an efficient and organized project timeline.

With an eye towards a successful mobile or web app, here is a roadmap for outlining an accurate scope for the project. Leverage these insights to build an app that keeps your company one step ahead of the competition.

Why Determining Project Scope is Critical 

Simply put, failure to properly scope a software engineering project puts its eventual success at risk. This scoping effort must include detailed specifications for the app as a prime deliverable. Ultimately, it helps ensure developers actually understand what to build. Equally important is helping project managers and team leads estimate the overall effort and subsequently craft the right timeline for the project.   

Another vital benefit of accurate project scope involves reducing costs. We noted earlier that scope adjustments in the middle of a project require extensive resources to properly implement. Because of this, getting stakeholder sign-off on the project specifications is a must.   

In addition to costs, significant delays to the project timeline become likely without a clearly defined scope. Missing deadlines leads to unhappy customers or business stakeholders. Your company’s reputation might also take a significant hit. 

An Initial Engagement to Determine the Project’s Business Goals 

A good initial step on any digital venture is a meeting with the stakeholders and digital ventures firm. Talk about the app idea at a high level. Find out the app’s goals as well as the typical user profile. Of course, determining the current market for the app – if it already exists – also makes this initial analysis more effective. 

Remember, seamless communication between the project team and business stakeholders remains an important aspect in any successful digital venture. 

Forge a High-Level Conceptual Idea for the App

At this point, work with your development team to craft a document describing the app at a high-level. Include the goals/objectives, problems it solves, KPIs, high-level user personas, a monetization model if relevant, and its platform (web or mobile). If mobile, does it target iOS, Android, or both? 

The information shared during the initial discovery meeting likely answers most of these questions. Still, documenting everything, and ensuring all stakeholders and team members are in agreement is critical at this early stage.

Identify the App’s User Experience 

Detailing the user journey within the app becomes vital at this stage. This information helps drive the design requirements and specifications for the app. Also perform some external analysis of similar apps to find areas of competitive advantage. 

Identify all user functionality as well as the app’s other features. Include some basic graphic design elements to better inform the subsequent wireframes. Categorize these features to make them easy to prioritize when the project timeline is created.  

Craft an Initial Design Document 

Now it’s time to craft the initial designs for the app. This includes building the UI wireframes and UX diagrams detailing the interface functionality. However, it’s also important to remember the backend. 

Determine any database requirements in addition to the need for servers to support the app’s functionality. Platforms for both the cloud and data also need to be identified. Consider the skills and experience of the development team when making these platform choices. 

Upon approval of the app design, craft detailed specifications for the project. This needs to include all UI/UX construction as well as any backend code. Also create sufficient test plans for the QA process.  

Create the Project Schedule and Timeline 

Once the design and subsequent specifications are complete, build a timeline and schedule for the project. Use the categorization of features mentioned earlier to segregate the work into sprints, assuming the Agile methodology is used. 

Work with your development team or digital ventures firm to schedule the project timeline based on the number of coding and testing resources assigned to the project. Since quality likely needs to be the preeminent goal, a faster timeline requires more resources.

Don’t wait until after you have built a product roadmap to contact a firm such as 923 Digital. As a digital ventures firm, we help corporations achieve their business goals by crafting state of the art digital ventures, including mobile apps and web-based interactive projects. Our team includes an array of talented professionals who are well versed in guiding companies through the entire product lifecycle. Connect with our team to discuss your next venture.

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