Documenting Scope: Concept vs. Solution

As many of you can attest to scope can be painful and usually not in a good way. The process of defining the project scope can be challenging for me becauase I like to see and end result in my head so I can write the scope. My excercise of doodling on paper is exteremely helpful for writing the functional requirements of the scope document. But I do not have that same luxury this time.

One of the most difficult things that I find in writing scope documents is the constant struggle in my head of highlighting the functional needs to meet the solution I see in my head. As I have mentioned previously there are plenty of changes to the solution in my head, but it is easier for me to understand how the final product will operate in order to capture the requirements for making the vision a reality.

In my current role we do not solution any functional requirements in the scope document itself. We are to provide a high level concept that the development teams can find an appropriate solution. The following example is an exaggeration, but still reflects the point I’m trying to make. If I know that I want to have a flash file that can display videos I would need to write it like this: Page will need to allow for Flash component capable of video and other media types supported by Flash.

That sounds redundant doesn’t it? The reason for being specific is that if I do not allow for the other media types then the door is open to ONLY support flash video. In this case we could potentially have a space on the page that will only display “.flv”. The content management system might also be coded to accept only “.flv”. As soon as you paint yourself into a corner the stakeholders will comeback to you and ask for “.swf”.

To get around this I usually end up with more “solution” than “concept” in my scope document on the first draft. I then go back through and pull the details where it is unnecessary and rephrase the wording. This is how it works for me. Let’s hope I can nail down my scope before the deadline next week!

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Been a long month, but we’re coming back

The hiatus for the last month was an unfortunate side effect with my back. I’ll keep it brief but it appears that long years of trying to adjust my 6’6″ frame into a world that does not generally accomodate those that are above average height (or below the average for that matter). The result is that I have been working with a chiropractor to adjust my back to get me to a more normal place. With some recent setbacks in our progress an MRI revealed the damage.

Unfortunately my attempt at dealing with my pain and discomfort has affected my ability to be as productive as I would have liked. I hope the realizations this week will energize me and give me the motivation to devote some off time to posting here. There are so many things I’d like to cover, but just haven’t been able to get to it.

Thanks for sticking with me! We’ll be back to rockin’ soon!