5 Steps for Outlining the Scope of Your App Development Project

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. This means deliverables are clearly defined.

When initiating an app development 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 if scope creep is to be avoided. Most software engineers and project managers understand the great costs incurred when the scope of mobile application development changes midstream.

Working with the project stakeholders to determine the project requirements and schedule is a must before starting work if you want to manage scope creep. 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 statement 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 To Your App Development Timeline

Simply put, failure to properly scope the management process of 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 software 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 accurately estimating the scope of a project 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 for any product or service 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 about the design requirements. Talk about the mobile app development idea at a high level. Find out the app’s goals as well as how to create a user persona, such as what the target audience is or which operating systems they are more likely to use.

Of course, determining the current market for the app – if it already exists – also makes this initial analysis more effective. This can be as simple as a quick visit to the app store or as in-depth as a full market analysis.

Remember, seamless communication between the project team and business stakeholders remains an important aspect of 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 devices are the choice, does it target iOS, Android, or both? This information can have a big impact on the design process and more.

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 persona's journey within the app becomes vital at this point of the process. This information helps drive the UX 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 UX 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 control 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 venture studio, 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.

Outlining App Development Scope FAQ

How do you write a scope for a mobile app?

There are a few things you'll need when you are writing a scope for a mobile app. You need to consider what the project is about, determine how it will work, decide who the target market is and give a brief overview of the overall project plan for app development.

What is the scope of an app?

The scope of an app refers to how long it will take the app development team to design, build and deliver an application. It's effectively a timeline that is set by developers with input from the client or sales team and project managers.

What are the 5 steps of defining scope?

There are five key steps that are followed during the scope defining process in app development.

  • First: define the goals of the app
  • Second: identify potential issues or hurdles to overcome
  • Third: decide which resources are needed to achieve the set goals
  • Fourth: set up a milestone schedule to stay on track
  • Fifth: list all the important stakeholders that have say in the project

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