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Project Scope: A Comprehensive Guide

Clearly defining scope is the foremost step to completing a project successfully. The project scope outlines the boundaries and objectives of the project, providing a roadmap for project stakeholders to understand what needs to be accomplished, the required resources, and the timeline for completion.

 

This article is a comprehensive guide that will delve into the key aspects of project scope, including its definition, importance, elements, and how to manage scope changes efficiently.

 

What is the Project Scope?

Project scope refers to the specific objectives, deliverables, features, and functions of a project. It defines the boundaries of the project, outlining what is included and what is not. By defining the project scope, project managers can establish a clear understanding of what needs to be achieved, ensuring that all stakeholders are on the same page.

 

Importance of Project Scope:

 

1. Clarity and Direction:

A well-defined project scope provides clarity and direction to the project team, stakeholders, and clients. It ensures that everyone involved in the project understands what needs to be accomplished, reducing confusion and improving collaboration.

2. Resource Management:

Project scope helps in efficient resource allocation. It enables project managers to identify the necessary resources, such as staff, equipment, and budget, required to complete the project successfully. By having a clear scope, project managers can avoid over-allocation or underutilization of resources.

3. Cost and Time Estimation:

Project scope assists in estimating the cost and duration of a project accurately. With a well-defined scope, project managers can identify the tasks, dependencies, and milestones, allowing them to create realistic project schedules and budgets.

4. Risk Mitigation:

The project scope also aids in managing risks effectively. By clearly defining what is included and excluded in the project, potential risks and challenges can be identified early on, allowing project managers to develop appropriate risk mitigation plans.

 

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Elements of Project Scope:

1. Objectives:

Clearly defined project objectives are crucial to the project scope. It is essential to understand what results the project aims to achieve and how it aligns with the overall organizational goals.

2. Deliverables:

The project scope should identify the tangible outputs or deliverables that the project team will produce. These deliverables could be physical products, software, reports, or any other measurable outcome.

3. Boundaries:

The scope must outline the boundaries of the project by specifying what is included and what is excluded. This helps in avoiding scope creep, which refers to the uncontrolled expansion of project boundaries during the project’s execution.

4. Constraints:

Identifying constraints within the project scope is also important. Constraints may include limitations in terms of time, budget, resources, technology, or any other factor that may impact the project’s execution.

 

Managing Scope Changes:

In the course of a project, changes to the scope are inevitable due to various factors such as changes in requirements, stakeholder requests, or unforeseen circumstances. However, managing scope changes is crucial to prevent scope creep and ensure project success.

 

Here are some key steps to effectively manage scope changes:

1. Clearly communicate the change

When a scope change is proposed, it is important to transparently communicate the implications of the change to all stakeholders, including the project team, management, and clients. This ensures that everyone understands the impact of the change and can make informed decisions.

2. Assess the impact:

Project managers along with business analysts must assess the impact of the proposed scope change on the project timeline, budget, and resources. It is crucial to evaluate whether the change can be accommodated without significantly affecting the project’s objectives.

3. Obtain stakeholder agreement:

Before implementing any scope change, obtaining agreement from all relevant stakeholders is essential. This ensures that all parties are aligned with the proposed change and minimizes the chances of misunderstandings or conflicts.

4. Adjust project plan:

If the scope change is approved, the project plan, including the schedule, budget, and resource allocation, must be adjusted as mentioned in the scope document. Project managers should update the project documentation and communicate the changes to the team.

5. Monitor scope changes:

Throughout the project, it is important to monitor and control scope changes continuously. Project managers should regularly review the scope to identify any unauthorized changes and take appropriate actions to prevent scope creep.

In a nutshell, a well-defined project scope is vital for the successful execution of any project. It provides clarity, direction, and a framework for project stakeholders to understand the project objectives, deliverables, and boundaries. By effectively managing scope changes, project managers can ensure that projects stay on track, avoiding scope creep and delivering successful outcomes. Therefore, project managers and business analysts must invest time and effort in developing and maintaining a comprehensive project scope, right from the project’s initiation.

The Relevance of Mobile App Development for Businesses

Mobile app development is more relevant and important than ever for businesses of all sizes in the current digital era. Our daily lives and how we engage with the world around us have been completely transformed by the introduction of smartphones and the explosive expansion of mobile technology. Mobile applications have permeated every aspect of our everyday life, from productivity and shopping to communication and pleasure.

Let’s explore the significance of application development for businesses, the specialists required for developing mobile applications, the typical cost of hiring such specialists, where to find a mobile app development team, what factors to take into account when choosing them, the potential for outsourcing application to a development team, and the benefits of outsourcing.

 

Why is App Development Important for Business?

For businesses, the creation of mobile apps offers a variety of advantages and opportunities that help them grow their consumer bases and remain competitive. A survey conducted by Clutch revealed that 42% of small businesses already have a mobile app, while 30% are planning to build one in the future, indicating the growing adoption of app development teams across various industries. For the following reasons, developing apps is essential for businesses:

 

A well-designed mobile app enables businesses to interact and engage with their consumers more personally.

 

  1. Increased Customer Engagement. Apps may greatly increase consumer engagement and loyalty by offering useful features, smooth user experiences, and tailored content.

 

  1. Increased Brand Visibility: Creating a mobile app gives companies a dedicated platform to promote their goods, services, and brand identity. The user’s smartphone now has the app icon, which acts as a continual reminder of the brand, boosting exposure and brand familiarity.

 

  1. Improved Customer help: By providing features like chatbots, in-app messaging, and self-help choices, mobile applications may simplify and enhance customer service. These features allow organizations to help customers quickly and effectively, enhancing their pleasure and loyalty.

 

  1. Increased Sales and income: Customers may make purchases using mobile applications in a simple and secure manner, increasing sales and income streams for enterprises. Additional incentives for clients and repeat business can be provided through in-app purchases, mobile payments, and loyalty programs.

 

  1. Competitive Advantage: Having a mobile app may provide firms a competitive edge in today’s congested industry. It demonstrates an innovative mindset, a dedication to satisfying client demands, and a forward-thinking attitude. A well-made, feature-rich app may draw in new users and set a company apart from its rivals.

 

Specialists Needed for Mobile Application Development and Average Cost of Hiring

Source: Sigmund. Unsplash

 

A group of qualified experts with a range of specialties is needed to develop a mobile app. Following are some of the major positions in mobile app development team and their respective typical salaries:

 

  1. Project manager: Plans and organizes the development team, oversees the whole app development process. A project manager typically costs between $60,000 and $100,000 per year to hire.

 

  1. UI/UX Designer: Develops user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing interfaces. The typical annual salary for a UI/UX designer in a good development team is between $40,000 and $90,000.

 

  1. Writes the code and creates the software for particular platforms (such as iOS, Android, etc.). Depending on experience and competence, hiring a mobile app developer might cost anywhere between $50,000 and $120,000 annually.

 

  1. Quality Assurance (QA) Tester: Verifies that the program runs without hiccups and finds any defects or problems. A QA tester typically costs between $40,000 and $80,000 per year to hire.

 

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Where to Look for Specialists and What to Consider When Selecting Them

There are several options to consider while looking for experts in mobile app development. Here are a few possibilities:

 

  1. In-House Hiring: By advertising job vacancies on appropriate sites, holding interviews, and evaluating candidates’ credentials and experience, you may hire specialists directly.

 

  1. Independent contractors and freelancers: Websites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Toptal give users access to a large pool of qualified experts who may work on a project-by-project basis.

 

  1. Business Networks:

 

Leveraging professional networks may be quite helpful when trying to identify experts for mobile app development team. When choosing professionals, keep the following things in mind:

– Look for appropriate experience: Verify that the professionals you are considering have expertise creating mobile applications and have the abilities required for your particular project needs.

– Examine portfolios and references: Look into their prior work and contact references or clients for testimonials. You may learn more about the caliber of their work and their capacity for success from this.

– Evaluate your teamwork and communication abilities. Successful app development depends on strong teamwork and communication. Look for experts that can clearly convey ideas, comprehend your vision, and function well in a development team.

– Technical proficiency: Examine the specialists’ technical proficiency by gauging their familiarity with the frameworks, programming languages, and tools used in the creation of mobile apps.

– Cultural fit: Take into account how well the professionals fit into your company’s culture. A more efficient development process may be achieved by creating a good working connection and adhering to the ideals of your firm.

 

Outsourcing Application Development and the Advantages of Outsourcing

Businesses also have the option to outsource their application development in addition to recruiting professionals inside. There are a number of advantages to outsourcing, including:

 

  1. Cost-effectiveness: Compared to recruiting an internal workforce, outsourcing is frequently more affordable. It does away with the need for office space, equipment, perks, and recruitment expenditures. You may also benefit from the experience of experts from nations with reduced labor expenses through outsourcing.

 

  1. Gaining access to specialized skills: By outsourcing, you may tap into a vast talent pool. Making sure you discover the best experts for your project, you may pick from a large choice of specialists with a variety of skill sets and knowledge.

 

  1. Outsourcing saves you time by letting professionals handle the development process while you concentrate on your main company operations. Time is saved, and the job may be finished more quickly.

 

  1. Scalability and flexibility: Outsourcing allows you to manage your app development demands with scalability and flexibility. The development team size may be readily increased or decreased to meet project objectives, guaranteeing efficient resource use.

 

  1. Shorter time to market: Outsourcing can hasten the design phase. Your software may be released more quickly and you’ll have an advantage over competitors if you have a committed staff working on it.

 

Conclusion

In today’s digital environment, the success of enterprises depends greatly on mobile app development. It provides better brand recognition, better customer service, higher sales and income, and a competitive edge. It also increases customer engagement. It’s crucial to select the best professionals, taking into account their credentials, experience, and cultural fit, in order to create a successful mobile app. Specialists can be found through internal employment, independent contractors, and business networks. As an alternative, contracting out the development of apps offers cost efficiency, access to specialized expertise, time savings, scalability, and a quicker time to market.

Businesses may use the power of mobile technology to propel growth and success by recognizing the importance of mobile app development and making smart choices regarding expertise and outsourcing.

The Role of UI/UX Design in Cross-Platform App Development

Going cross-platform is the smart choice these days, given the ever-growing number of devices and operating systems. However, mobile app development would be incomplete without a well-designed UI and a positive user experience.

 

Building features according to the client’s business requirements is of prime importance. Making them with a natural, user-friendly flow is, or at least should be, part of that goal. This is because most people wouldn’t bother to give negative feedback if they’re unsatisfied with their app experience. 91% of users simply stop using the app rather than complain about it.

 

Why The Role of UI/UX Design Is Important

An app’s user interface is what users interact with to use it, and every app design company knows that UI/UX design can be the difference between market success and failure. We can explain its significance through the following benefits:

 

Engage Users

A well-crafted UI/UX design is one that’s thoughtfully created. Creating a “wow effect” in apps to make them look cool and trendy isn’t enough – the app should be usable. Users are more likely to stay on your app and explore its features if the navigation is intuitive and the interactions are smooth.

Therefore, designers who forego excessively complex and flashy designs for performance and user-friendliness can easily deliver a positive and engaging user experience.

 

Enhance Performance

The app’s performance gets affected by the number of design elements, which means UI/UX design can improve or degrade it. Nearly half of users stop engaging with an app because of poor performance, which is why paying attention to UI/UX without compromising performance is essential.

A well-designed app will not only rate high on usability, but also be lightweight, so it doesn’t negatively impact the app’s overall speed and responsiveness. In fact, the right use of design elements can uplift user experience by enhancing performance.

 

Build Loyalty

An app’s features pull in customers, but its design makes them want to use it. A UI UX design company knows how to keep users coming back– by giving them an app that’s easier to use and works the way they would expect.

The more convenient an app is, the quicker the user develops a habit of using it. They will be looking forward to new feature releases and updates before they know it. Gaining the attention of the existing audience and making them your loyal users will prove advantageous in the long term.

 

Make An Excellent First Impression

Even the most loyal app user first judged the book by its cover, as is human nature. In other words, a majority of users will form an opinion about your app before they even begin to use it. They will most likely go through the app’s screenshots on the Google Play or Apple App Store page of the app.

The app’s UI/UX design will help them decide whether the app is worth their time. Therefore, an elegant, efficient design with easy access to their desired features can make a world of difference.

 

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How UI/UX Design Impacts Business Success

Investing in UI/UX design for cross-platform app development services can yield substantial benefits for your business:

  • Increased user acquisition: A well-designed app that delivers an exceptional user experience attracts more users, boosting user acquisition rates and expanding your customer base.

 

  • Higher conversion rates: Intuitive UI/UX design can lead to increased conversions, as users are more likely to complete desired actions. For example, they will complete their purchases or subscribe to a service.

 

  • Positive word-of-mouth and reviews: Satisfied users are more likely to share their positive experiences with others. This leads to word-of-mouth referrals and positive app reviews, further enhancing your app’s reputation.

 

  • Competitive advantage: A well-designed app can be a differentiator in a crowded marketplace. It will give your business a competitive edge over others by standing out to users for all the right reasons.

 

Conclusion

App design is just as important as other aspects because it directly affects user experience. A good user interface goes beyond aesthetics; it considers ease of use alongside functionality for the best results.

However, finding talented designers with a working understanding of modern UX trends can be difficult. You may have to search for an established UI/UX design company with relevant experience and a knack for delivering what the user desires.

 

The Courage to Try Something Old – Use Cases

There are many articles about project management trends for 2023. Among the common threads are a focus on AI and more automated PM tools. There are also contradictory trends like workers returning to the office or continuing to work from home. What I find most interesting, though, is that many of the trends have been around for years—like change management, agile and hybrid development methods, and focusing on benefits.[i] Does that mean that these old horses are not really trends? Not at all. It means that even when these techniques are out of favor, they are needed to successfully manage our projects.

 

One “old” trend I was happy to see was entitled Use Cases Are Back.[ii] Not that they’ve ever gone away. They’ve had different formats and names, like the Given, When, Then format, but the thought processes needed to develop a use case model have always been required.

To review, a use case is a model that describes how stakeholders want to use pretty much anything that’s being built, like a car, an elevator, a phone app, or a change to an existing system. But defining them is not easy. We can’t just ask our stakeholders how they would like to use a microwave or what functionality is needed in a sales app. We need to ask the right questions. And a use case model is a great tool for getting at those requirements.

A use case model, like almost all models, has both a graphical and textual component.[iii] The first component, a use case diagram, is a picture of the how the stakeholders will interact with what’s being developed. It identifies all stakeholder groups who will use the end product and how they want to use it. It also describes all the systems and other components needed to make it work. It becomes a picture of all the people and technical components, as well as all the functionality needed to make it useable. And it’s a great picture of the scope of the effort.

 

Some PMs and BAs have trouble getting started, so I have developed 5 business questions that can provide a jumpstart in the creation of a use case diagram.

Use Case Diagram Questions

  1. What’s being built? It’s usually called a system, but we can call it whatever we want. Examples include a new car, a change to an order system, and kitchen cabinets.
  2. Who are the stakeholders who will use this system? These are often called actors, such as an auto service consultant, a consumer, and cabinet designer.
  3. How do these stakeholders want to use the system? What functionality do they need? These are the use cases themselves. They are stated as high-level processes, like Start Car, Order Product, Measure Cabinets.
  4. What other systems or components will interact directly with the system? These are also commonly called actors, like Ignition system, Replenishment system, and Cabinet Delivery Schedule system.
  5. How will the actors and the system talk to each other? These eventually become the user interfaces that allow the system to recognize what the actor wants to do. The driver sends some signal to the Start Car use case. A consumer enters an item into Order Product use case. A cabinet designer enters measurements into a design cabinet use case.

The textual component is known as a use case narrative or scenario. It describes the process steps which detail the interaction between the stakeholders and what’s being built.

 

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For example, how do we start the car? Does the driver put a key into the ignition? Press a button? Does the car start when the car phone app is connected and the driver opens the door? Something else? There is no one right answer. But the questions below will help our stakeholders go through the required thought processes.

Use Case Scenario Questions:

  1. How do I know where to begin? Preconditions provide the answer. They tell us where to begin by describing what has already occurred. In our example, do I already have my keys? Have I already unlocked the car? Adjusted the mirrors? More preconditions mean that the use case scenario will be shorter and there will be fewer different paths. For example, if a precondition is that I have my keys, we don’t need to document what happens when I’ve lost my keys in this scenario.
  2. How do I know when I’m done? These are the postconditions. We stop when we reach these conditions. The pre and post conditions form the scope of the use case because they define what’s in and out of each one.
  3. What is the most common way of getting from the pre to the post condition? This is the “happy path.” There are no decisions in this path, such as what happens if the car won’t start.
  4. What are other ways of getting from the pre to the postcondition? These are the alternate paths. The car starts, but it takes three tries.
  5. What prevents us from getting to the postcondition? These are the exception paths, like when the battery is dead.

Use case models are extremely useful for getting the requirements of the interaction between stakeholders and what’s being built. There are other ways of getting them, but the structure of the use case can help us focus on what questions to ask and ultimately saves time and frustration.


[i] https://www.theprojectgroup.com/blog/en/project-management-trends/; https://www.replicon.com/blog/project-management-trends/ are two examples.
[ii] https://www.projecttimes.com/articles/top-business-trends-to-watch-for-in-2023/
[iii] I’m not including a use case diagram because of the many different conventions used. What’s important are the thought processes, not the conventions.

Practical PM for Everyone

Project management is a process that, when done well, enables optimal performance. Why wouldn’t everyone want to know how to manage projects?

 

Everyone Has Projects

A project is an effort to create a result in a finite time. According to PMI, “a project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result. A project is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources.”

Everyone is part of projects. Some projects are long, large, and complex, like a lunar expedition or the implementation of a new system in an organization. Others are moderate and more personal – planning a party, buying a car, moving, painting your house. Others are quite simple, for example getting up and out of the house, packing for a vacation, grocery shopping, doing the dishes, cooking a meal. Even the individual activities of regular operations like answering emails or working to close a sale fit the definition of projects. we can consider them as mini-projects.

 

Therefore, everyone would do well to know the basic principles of project management and adapt them to the size and complexity of the projects at hand.

Professional PMs would add value by promoting wide-spread appreciation and knowledge of project management for all.

 

Agile Adaptability

Applying a complex project management process with forms, protocols, and reports to manage your at home cooking dinner project or a small project that is repeated many times is not skillful.

You might like to be formal and explicit because it makes you feel good but if there are others involved you might drive them crazy and waste lots of time and effort.

 

At the same time, doing any project without a plan, without writing things down (for example a shopping list), with ambiguous or inadequate communication, and without looking back to learn from the experience is equally unskillful. It is likely to lead to extra trips to the store to get missing ingredients, too much or too little food, misunderstandings of who will do what, and when.

Planning, performing, monitoring, controlling, and closing happen in every project, the way we do them varies widely depending on the situation. It was the intention of the earlier founders of the agile approach to point this out and promote the idea that the project team does best to adapt practices to the needs of their project, stakeholders, and setting, while being aware of the need for a degree of structure and discipline.

 

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The Agile Manifesto:

“We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.

Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions     over     processes and tools

Working software                     over     comprehensive documentation

Customer collaboration            over     contract negotiation

Responding to change              over     following a plan.

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

http://agilemanifesto.org

 

Communication and Collaboration

To enable an adaptive and agile approach make sure that all stakeholders have a sense of  the basic principles of project management.

The basics are what everyone should know about managing a project, even if they are not managing one. Knowing the process and principles stakeholders can assess how well the project is being managed. They will be able to connect a sense of the project’s health  accomplishment and progress.

 

The basics are:

  1. Plan, to create a clear sense of what is to be accomplished, how, where, by when, by whom, and for how much it will cost. Remember that plans are always subject to change. Planning is not over until the project is over.
  2. Let go into execution, the performance. It’s like dance or a play. You learn the steps and your role and surrender into performing them.
  3. Mindfully monitor and control to assess progress against the plan and to adjust. Make it part of the performance so it doesn’t get in the way.
  4. Close. Take a step back to assess performance. Tie up loose ends. Learn from the experience. Turn over the results.

So simple, if there is understanding, adaptability, effective communication and collaboration.

Without these the project management process becomes a burden. With them the probability of project success goes way up.

 

What gets in the Way?

You’d think that everyone would be eager to apply the basics and to understand, adapt, communicate, and collaborate. But it is not the case.  The principle things that get in the way are:

  • Lack of process thinking – Thinking all that is needed is to put heads down and do the work instead of recognizing that objectives are met by skillfully applying effort to perform a set of definable steps or tasks.
  • Too much process thinking – over formalizing project management, creating unnecessary bureaucracy and overhead.
  • Not recognizing the value – thinking that the effort to manage the project is not worthwhile.
  • Thinking that it is too hard to engage others in the work required – believing that changing stakeholder mindsets about project management is impossible.
  • Personality traits – for example, closed-mindedness, impatience, fear of being criticized and controlled, and over confidence block attempts to implement some degree of planning and control.

 

What to Do About It

Removing the obstacles to implementing the right kind of project management (PM) requires a learning process in which PM champions convince stakeholders that PM is a practical process that adds value by upgrading performance and promoting project success.

Breaking through resistance to PM requires mindset change and changing people’s minds is no easy task.

 

It is not just about getting people to take a PM course, though an appropriate one, with a skilled facilitator, is a good place to start. It is committing to a dialog that addresses resistance to applying PM principles coupled with a commitment to the agility to adapt the principles to fit the projects being performed and the people who manage and perform them.

It takes time and patience with an understanding that much of the resistance is reasonable given experience with dysfunctional PM and rigid project management professionals who don’t adapt the process to the situation at hand.