Why It’s Important To Define Scope of Work

A team of developers discussing a project in an office

Finding a great web developer doesn’t mean your work is done; it takes careful planning and strategizing to develop a fruitful working relationship. As long as they have the right skills, any company can improve your website, but this is only one piece of the puzzle. They can make any number of promises to work wonders when it comes to picking design elements, adding specific features, and improving your website’s functionality, but that won’t help you if they don’t deliver. With over 200 million websites currently active, you need to make sure yours is well-designed so that it stands out from the crowd. A web development agency’s success at fulfilling its promises depends on your relationship with it.

If you have ever been in a relationship with a vendor, you know that forming a great relationship goes beyond big promises. Both parties need to understand their roles. Even more importantly, the vendor needs to understand the client’s delivery timelines. That’s why it’s important to define the scope of work before working with a vendor on your website.

Your website scope of work will outline all the intricacies of your relationship and establish expectations. Here is why it’s important to have one:

Determine Cost Estimates

You don’t have to know your web development project costs off the bat, but you should at least have a budget range. This range immediately eliminates any developers who can’t deliver within your budget. If a company offers its services at double your expected price, they won’t be a perfect fit for you. Sure, there are many ways to reduce project costs, but you should first define the scope of work to weed out companies that aren’t in the right ballpark.

Besides, a good scope will outline what you expect from web development companies. For instance, it will help them know more about:

  • The number of people to dedicate to your project
  • The specifications you’re looking for
  • The amount of time needed on the project

All of these aspects will impact project costs. For instance, short delivery timelines typically mean more team members, increasing project costs. If a vendor thinks that they can handle your project’s scope at your expected price point, they will feel comfortable signing a contract with you. Most importantly, once you define the scope of work, you can cover almost all cost-intensive points during contract negotiations. This limits the chances of identifying unexpected costs later in the project’s cycle.

Ensure That the Final Product Meets Your Needs

A scope of work document details what you expect from the web design firm. For instance, personalization is one of 2021’s top web development trends, and most businesses are looking to integrate it into their website. The fact that 71% of customers are frustrated by impersonal web design makes it a must-have for businesses that are looking to stand out. 

The best way to start a great relationship with your web design firm is to define your scope of work. If you include personalization in your scope, you can set clear expectations. It also becomes easy to find the right business to work with. You should include details like your ideal features, including both the must-haves and those you’d like to have but that aren’t deal-breakers.

Luckily, multiple websites offer scope of work templates. A simple Google search will be enough to find a good template.

Improve Communication and Kill Bottlenecks

A man and a woman hosting a video conference call

Web development projects are collaborative. You should communicate regularly with your development team both to offer feedback and address concerns. A simple communication mistake could result in huge losses for your business, and that’s why you need to define the scope of work. Spelling out how you prefer to communicate with the development team could be the difference between a successful project and one fraught with errors.

Different agencies prefer to communicate in different ways. While some will have you communicate directly with the team, others will designate someone as a single point of contact for centralized communication. The best option for you is whatever ensures seamless and fluid communication with the team.

You also need to choose the ideal communication tools. Emails may be ideal for day-to-day check-ups, while video calls can help when evaluating milestones. Most importantly, you ought to consider using popular project management tools. 87% of successful projects leverage project management tools, according to PWC, and you should, too. Be sure to outline your ideal communication means as you define the scope of work. 

Ensure That the Developers Follow Desired Timelines

Adhering to deadlines is essential, especially if the project is time-sensitive. For instance, if you are making last-minute changes to your website before the peak season, you want to implement the changes fast. Your scope of work should outline every single detail about your expected delivery timelines. 

You should outline your entire delivery schedule, breaking down deliverables into milestones. The team should know when everything needs to be delivered. Remember, the schedule you set will also affect costs. Shorter schedules require larger teams and more resources and cost much more than longer ones. Most scope of work templates on website development will guide you on defining timelines.

Talking about timelines as you define the scope of work also helps when looking for an ideal partner. Agencies that feel they can’t deliver within your timeline will stay away from the project, paving the way for you to partner with reliable agencies. Well-defined timelines also ensure that your partner knows the kind of resources to dedicate to your project. 

Conduct Ample Project Research Before Vetting Clients

Understanding every detail about your project is essential before you start working with an agency. It ensures you can clearly articulate expectations to the client. The more refined your ideal project outcomes are, the easier it becomes to find a worthy agency. It also minimizes errors and time wastage as your agency struggles to determine what you want. 

Best of all, choosing to define the scope of work from the onset saves you money that could have been spent communicating with an agency for the same purpose. All you need is to conduct ample research to define your project. 

For instance, you can assess competitors’ websites to identify which aspects you desire. You could then present this information to your agency. Other ways to conduct research are customer surveys, assessing past website performance, and studying industry trends. 

Make Vetting Agencies Easier

A lot goes into picking the ideal agency to work with, and finding the right fit isn’t always easy. Their skills need to match your needs. If you define the scope of work before you start the vetting process, identifying the best partners becomes easy. Besides, you can easily find useful templates by searching “scope of work website development templates” online.