You’re a freelancer that builds apps for clients, or maybe you’ve been doing this for a couple of years and have hired some talented people to help you scale. Whether you’re an app development agency or someone starting a side gig – project scoping is a key to unlock smooth, successful projects.
A well-defined scope provides a clear understanding of the project timeline, resources needed, and the overall budget. It helps keep the project within the agreed timeframe, and reduces the likelihood of taking on more than you can handle along with unexpected costs.
But beyond just time and money, a good, well-defined scope defines the expectations and goals for the end product. This helps ensure that you, or your development team is focused on delivering the right product, to the right standard.
The result: Improved quality, user satisfaction and better long-term outcomes.
What is project scope?
Project scope for an app development agency is a roadmap for building a new app! It's like a blueprint for the app's adventure. The project scope describes what the app development agency and the client will be working on together, what the app will be able to do, how it will look and feel, and how long it will take to build.
It outlines what you (the app development agency) is responsible for delivering to the client, and what is expected of the client during the project (because work relationships are a two-way street too!)
A typical app development project scope generally includes the following elements:
- Project overview: A high-level description of the project and its objectives, target audience, and overall goals.
- Requirements and features: A detailed list of the functional and non-functional requirements for the app, including the key features and user stories.
- Design and user experience: An outline of the visual design, user interface, and overall user experience for the app.
- Technical requirements: A description of the technical infrastructure and platforms required to support the app.
- Project timeline and deliverables: A detailed schedule of the project, including milestones, deadlines, and key deliverables.
- Quality assurance and testing: A plan for testing the app to ensure that it meets the specified requirements and performs as expected.
- Project management and communication plan: An outline of the project management process and the communication channels that will be used throughout the project.
- Budget and resource allocation: A breakdown of the project budget, including the costs associated with development, testing, and deployment.
- Risk management plan: An assessment of the potential risks associated with the project and a plan for mitigating those risks.
As an Adalo Expert, it helps to know how to scope out projects effectively. It will help you plan your work, keep your clients happy, and keep you from getting pulled in too many directions.
Draft outline for scoping an app project
Now that you know what your typical project scope includes, here’s how you can structure yours!
- Include one or two lines on the goal of the project, and how you hope to achieve it
- What resources are needed to make this project happen
- People involved
- Who / What capacity / Duration of involvement
- Budget (Even approximate figures are a good starting point)
- What is the client going to take home from this project
Project roadmap and timeline
- Consider using a Gantt chart or a similar project management framework
Out of scope
- What is agreed upon by everyone that is not in scope
- This can be a good way to get potential speed bumps out of the way early
Here are our best tips for project scoping as an Adalo Expert
Scoping an app development project can be a lot of fun, especially when you're the app development agency. But with so many variables to consider, it can also be a bit overwhelming. But don't worry! With these simple tips, you'll be scoping your app development projects like a pro in no time,
#1 Keep communication clear
Good communication is key when scoping an app development project. Make sure your client understands what you're proposing, what you need from them, and what the timeline looks like. The more transparent you are, the smoother the process will be.
Whether it’s on email, over the phone, or both – if you want to minimize confusion and extra work, it helps to develop clear communication channels between you and your clients or leads. This doesn’t just save you time, but it also protects you from possibly missing out on business. It creates clarity around deliverables and objectives, and will help you maintain better relationships.
Pro tip: Keep a master document with notes from conversations and emails from each lead. This can just be for you. It comes in handy for determining payment, resolving disputes, and serves as a record of your client history.
#2: Gauge the client and prepare accordingly
Before you start scoping your client's app, it's important to understand who they are and what they want to achieve with their app. Ask questions, listen to their needs, and find out what their goals are. The more you know about your client, the better you'll be able to scope their app.
When you think about scoping a project, it’s important to remember that it takes a lot of time and effort. Serious thinking goes into it! So you don’t want to spend a lot of time and effort scoping out a project until you have a more formal relationship in place with the client.
Make sure you have a clear understanding of what your client wants their app to do. What features do they need? What kind of user experience do they want to offer? What kind of information do they need to collect? Write down their requirements so you don't forget anything.
Remember that in every conversation, you are interviewing the prospective client as well! Setting up the scope is a great way to assess whether you and the client can have a fruitful working relationship.
If you are getting more leads in then you can handle, you can consider setting up a Typeform and use it as a way to filter out low quality leads.
#3 Under promise and over deliver!
When scoping your client's app, it's important to be realistic about what's possible. Don't promise your client the moon if you know it's not feasible. Be honest about what you can deliver and what you can't.
Over optimism is one of the main stumbling blocks that new freelancers find themselves trapped in. If you find yourself thinking, “Oh yes, I can build you Uber this weekend for 50 bucks,” you might be in this phase right now!
Barrett Nash, a former Adalo Expert, when asked about his scoping practices, shared this piece of advice: “A good rule of thumb to manage expectations and your time isto double your initial assumption and use that as a starting point. For example, if it might be a 2-month project for 5000 USD, consider proposing a 4-month project at 10,000 USD. It’s always better to finish early and under budget!”
Being overly optimistic may work for the client, but could possibly cost you (the freelancer or agency) a lot more time and money than you’d initially expected.
#4 Set clear, achievable deliverables
Once you have a clear understanding of your client's requirements, it's time to make a plan. How long will it take to build the app? What are the key milestones? Who will be responsible for each part of the project? Making a plan will help you stay on track and ensure that you hit your deadlines.
Side note: While you’re in the scoping phase, it’s a great opportunity to plan for testing. Make sure you allocate enough time and resources to test the app before you launch it. This will ensure that your client's app is of the highest quality and meets their needs.
#5 Be flexible
Finally, be flexible! Scoping an app development project is a fluid process and things can change as you go. Be open to making changes and adjustments to the scope as needed.
Here are some free resources to help you scope like a pro
- Adalo app calculator: Use it as a back end to developing a scope, and to estimate the cost of building an app. You can run through the questions like an interview with the client. It will help you get a breakdown for your charges.
- Spec sheet template: Make a copy of this template and use it as a simple starting point for developing your own scope.