Customer Pitfalls. Part 1: Scope & Budget Management
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Rubyroid Labs starts a series of articles to help IT Teams and their customers to find common ground and to avoid common development pitfalls. Today we will tell you how to manage scope and budget efficiently.
What is the problem?
The issue of managing scope and budget is one of the most common reasons why your IT project can fail. No wonder, doing this type of management right requires not only a strong nerve but also a lot of experience and ability to stay focused on the goal.
Since making an IT project is a highly creative process, it is quite easy to get carried away and eventually spend funds on something that would hardly be used. Or in pursuit of perfection, one can end up spending the whole budget without covering even a half of the scope.
We understand how hard it is to be a Product Owner and to be in charge of both vision and budget of the project. That is why we have picked up a few pieces of advice for you to boost the chances of success significantly.
How to solve it?
1. Remember about Goals
The best thing you can do for your project is always to remember why you are doing it. Never lose focus and every time you have an impulse to another feature ask yourself a question: would it help to achieve to goal better? And if you are not sure whether it would have an impact, make sure to put this feature to the backlog for later prioritization.
By keeping you MVP clean and keeping away from extra efforts you will not only save yourself from tons of headaches but will also have more room for mistake.
Since when MVP is ready, you will be able to compare all features from the backlog and prioritize them in accordance with the budget left.
2. Make use of Gantt chart
It is hard to keep everything in your head, so if have a medium or big project, make use of Gantt chart. Having a visual representation of your ideas is always a good thing. Gantt Chart not only makes the processes and deliverables more transparent but also helps you to manage deadlines efficiently.
By keeping it up to date you will see how any change request or additional iteration will affect the final deadlines and will be able to see a bigger picture when prioritizing features development.
3. Prioritise according to audience
By the way, talking about prioritization, when you ask yourself, which features you should develop first, think about what types of audience matter most for the success of your project.
This means that before drafting your product, you need to know who would be using it. If it is hard for you to envision these groups, try using “Personas” technique, which basically means creating a few generalized profiles of your future Users.
Each of the Persona should represent a different group. Quite often different types of Users need different features, so make sure to know which of those you need the most and focus on them.
Later, when the project starts bringing the first fruits, you can do more for other groups.
4. Trust your Project Manager
Though it is Product Owner’s responsibility to scope the project, remember that you are not one by one with this issue. Listen carefully to concerns and suggestion of your Project Manager. Remember, that you both have the same goal – creating a good product within specified time and budget. Project Managers are way more experienced in development, this way by trusting them you can avoid some pitfalls you would have never thought about.
5. Allocate budget for CRs
If you have a fixed budget, make sure to allocate at least 20% of it for change requests and other turn-ups. Trust us, no matter to what detail you will plan your product, once you will see it developed, you will think about dozens of things you would like to have differently.
And it is always great to have some funds in your sleeve for these types of changes. So don’t pack the scope to the top with different features, if you won’t have change requests, you will always be able to add them, once the main part is completed.
We hope you will find these pieces of advice useful. Wait for more to come!