What is a scoping session?
Scoping session is a pre-implementation workshop that analyzes all project details. Scoping is the first stage that systematizes all information regarding implementation or migration. We, as a Shopify agency, pay a lot of attention to researching all the eCommerce and technological needs of our customers. An in-depth analysis allows you to answer questions that arise before the start of activities, and its result is a kind of ‘bible’ of the entire project. The scope of the workshop is determined individually each time, because the conditions of the project, which are always different, must be taken into account. It is important to note, however, that such an analysis such issues:
- setting business requirements and priorities related to the operation of the newly emerging eCommerce
- defining the entire architecture and ecosystem of the store
- outlining the priorities and goals that are set within the project
- defining the functionality and necessary elements that are required at the start
- determining the scope of all integrations that will take place around eCommerce (integrations with selected applications, but also with systems around the store, i.e. PIM, ERP or CRM)
- defining the payment and logistics processes in the store
- approval of the choice of a given technology (a conscious decision supported by prior analysis is key)
The areas that are analyzed also depend on the project, however, during the scoping session, topics are discussed around: product information management, order handling processes, sales channels, analytics, backend and frontend of the store.
Stages of pre-implementation analysis
When it comes to the stages of the scoping session, we can distinguish several main points: the first one is the workshop between the client and the agency (conducted both online and offline), the second one is the specialists’ own analysis based on the information collected during the workshop. The next step is another workshop, where the first conclusions from the analysis are presented, this is the moment of consultation. After the second meeting, internal verification takes place again and the final version of the analysis report is prepared, including the conclusions of the meeting. The final stage is the presentation of the developed document, discussing it together with the presentation of conclusions, implementation plan, costs, timeline and next steps.
How to prepare for a scoping session?
It is very important to properly prepare for the workshop. Naturally, one of the tasks of the person conducting the scoping session is to properly plan the entire meeting so that it is as valuable and substantive as possible. Equally important is the preparation of the client himself, which cannot be omitted in the entire process. In this respect:
- The analyst provides the agenda of the meeting in advance, along with the issues that will be discussed and a list of questions worth answering before the workshop
- The analyst provides the client with a brief, thanks to which the first information is systematized (the brief is extremely important for both parties)
It is also extremely important who runs the scoping session. The key in this context are: experience, competence, a 360 view of business, extensive implementation knowledge, analytical thinking, the ability to listen and capture details while being able to ask appropriate questions that open the client.
The importance of scoping session analysis
We see the scoping session as the first, key element of implementation and migration projects. The aim of the workshop is to get to know all the elements, understand the mechanisms, and draw up an implementation plan so that the store meets the previously defined eCommerce assumptions. After such an analysis, the client should be able to answer the key question around the project, including:
- what technology to choose?
- what does the timeline look like and when to indicate the deadline?
- what processes will take place in the store?
- with what systems, why and how will the store be connected?
- what will be the implementation costs?
- what will be the fixed costs for eCommerce?
The results of the scoping session analysis determine the next step that should be taken in the context of the project – the analysis report also includes a technological recommendation and an action plan. The purpose of the entire meeting for both parties is to understand the complexity of the project, standardize all information, collect it in one place, draw conclusions, develop estimations, time and cost of implementation.
I mentioned that sometimes the scoping session and the report resulting from it are treated as the ‘bible’ of implementation. Thanks to a properly conducted analysis, the risks that may arise during the project are significantly reduced. At the workshop stage, many operating scenarios are developed and the most optimal one is selected for the complexity and assumptions of the project.
Scoping session is a very important stage of the project that affects the work of specialists who are involved in the implementation. Why is pre-implementation analysis so important? Below are the opinions of Brand Active specialists:
Opinion of the IT Project Manager
Scoping session is a very important element thanks to which the development team can immediately start estimating and taking actions in the project and analyze what requirements it faces. Thanks to an in-depth analysis before the start of the project, we as a team have defined goals and milestones that we will deliver to the client according to the assumed schedule.
– Weronika Radlinska, IT Project Manager
Opinion Specialist Quality Assurance
From the point of view of the person who verifies and tests the ready solution – precise definition of the system requirements is crucial. Potential errors and any risks can be identified already during the planning of functionalities, which shortens the implementation time. Lack of or incomplete pre-implementation analysis leads to many problems at the stage of programming and implementation.
-Renata Szafran, Quality Assurance
Opinion of the Head of Business Analysis
Pre-implementation analysis is a key element of any project, regardless of its size and complexity. It is an important process of verification and understanding of business goals and assumptions. Without this process, consulting, selection of solutions and the method of implementation may turn out to be wrong, generating a loss of resources and time.
Often, the scoping session itself contributes to increasing the investor’s awareness of the possibilities and limitations of the systems.
The final effect is a clear project implementation path with realistic cost and time estimates.
-Piotr Znamirowski, Head of Business Analysis
Opinion of Lead Senior R&D Full-Stack Developer
What is crucial when building a house? A solid foundation. Documentation is the basis of every project. Gathering all expectations regarding functionality, clearly and precisely described activities as part of the pre-implementation analysis make it possible to implement the project within the assumed time and budget. From the developer’s point of view, the aspect of completing information about the selection of applications and external systems is also important. At the beginning of the road, during the scoping session, the direction of action is chosen, but what is important – the path to reach the assumed goal is also determined.
-Taras Andrukhiv, Lead Senior R&D Full-Stack Developer
The scoping session should be treated as a necessary, key element that, if properly conducted, can minimize the risks associated with implementation and help make an informed business decision.
I encourage you to verify our company Shopify blog to increase knowledge about this platform – in the posts we share knowledge, which is also very useful in the context of making informed business decisions (also during pre-implementation workshops).