The road to success: Why scoping is important

Posted by
Balthazar Giraux

July 4, 2017

Imagine that your car is not working properly. For some reason when you push on the gas, your RPM’s don’t rev up and you can’t seem to get it going to the minimum speed needed to be riding safely on the highway. You would obviously take your car to the garage to get it fixed and figure out what the problem is. You would expect the mechanic to conduct an initial evaluation, otherwise he won’t know whether to replace the whole engine or just fix a loose screw.

When it comes to managing major changes in your instances, the concept is the same – except there are a lot more ways to build an instance than a car, therefore making the process a bit more challenging!

It is therefore not unusual to do a scoping before diving into a project. Scoping is not just something a company slaps on your invoice before actually doing a service, scoping is a critical step that needs to happen before starting any project. It is the first stage of project management in general. After all, you can’t fix a problem if you aren’t sure which elements aren’t working properly.

Is scoping actually useful?

Essentially, starting a project without scoping is like leaving on a road trip with no map and a vague idea of where you want to go.

Initially, it might seem like a pain to make this sort of investment – why pay for an aspect of your trip which doesn’t directly get you to your destination? Again, this is like thinking you shouldn’t buy a map because you’d rather spend the money on gas, when in fact you really need booth.

Scoping gives you vision – which is the most important thing a company needs. At the end of the scoping process, even though the direct work has not started on your project, you are provided a clear document and strategy of how you should best proceed, which is backed by our expert Atlassian consultants.

Clients call upon Valiantys because they need our expertise. Without vision for how things should change, a company will act how it always did in the past. Yet if our consultants aren’t sure of where you need to be going, it’s not really possible for us to provide the best possible solution.

Scoping has to happen at some point in the project (preferably at the beginning, unless you want to assess why things did not work out). Whether it is Valiantys scoping the client, the client doing it himself or another third party, scoping has to be done if a project is to have a positive result.

Asking the right questions: How is scoping done?

Most of the time, a client asks Valiantys to intervene on an instance where we don’t know all the specific details. The servers, instances, products, screens and pages were not implemented by us nor under our supervision. This doesn’t mean, at least not necessarily, that things were done the wrong way. Put simply, everybody works in different ways.

However, we have a very specific approach at Valiantys and try to respect Atlassian’s vision in our actions. For Atlassian, the idea is to buy a product which will allow you to work independently without help. This is also our approach, we want our client to be autonomous once we have helped them. Valiantys will do its best to set up your instances in such a way that you will not need us to conduct your day-to-day work. This is what separates Valiantys from a lot of services company. However, this approach makes it even more important that we get your deployment right the first time around.

Scoping allows us to answer three main questions:

  • What are the client’s objectives?
  • What is the client’s current situation and immediate challenges which they face?
  • How can we implement a process that will help the client reach their objective and result in a smooth deployment?

Depending on the size of the project, this process can take between 2 – 5 days. The first day is devoted to meeting the client and diving into the details of the project’s requirements. Then, we spend time assessing the structural soundness of your instance. For example, if it is a simple migration between Atlassian tools, this may not take a lot of time. However if your migration was not initially built by us, we may need to analyse how best to migrate your instance – or even determine that it would be better to start from scratch. Finally, our consultant will spend a couple of days writing up his report, which is the final product the client can keep.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a map

The reason why we live in a project management era is because people have realised that without vision you are likely to run in circles. The reason why clients start using Atlassian’s products is to get better at reaching the goals they set out to achieve, and to do so they need a structured process.

From this prospective, scoping is a logical start to any project management initiative. On the one hand, it allows Valiantys to know the client and their needs and adapt respectively. On the other, the client will get a better idea of the path they will need to follow with their project. This is an investment, however it will certainly not be a waste as the time a client spends on scoping will probably result in time saved from avoidable mistakes.

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