So you’re all set with a great app idea and funding. Now for the fun part—development. Finally, you've reached the moment when the rubber meets the road and ideas become code. You breathe a sigh of relief, thinking the hard part is behind you. But wait; not so fast.
While the app development process can be exciting and full of momentum, even great app ideas get mired in confusion without clear communication. Building an app is a multidisciplinary process that requires insight from many perspectives.
UX scoping refers to the process of turning business and user objectives into precise functional specifications. It’s defining not only what the user needs to be able to do in the app but also how he or she will accomplish it. Done correctly, the process aligns the efforts of your team before a single line of code is written. Luckily, I've found that the recipe for UX scoping success is simple.
The most critical part of a successful UX scoping session is inviting the right people to the conversation. Before you begin, consider everyone who will have a say in the app’s development. Then, form a squad that’s representative of this group. Note that it might not make sense to include every stakeholder in your conversation. Still, your UX scoping session should be representative of key groups.
With multiple perspectives in the room (or Zoom), a neutral UX scoping leader comes in handy. This person need not have the final say on development decisions but should act as a guide for the conversation. Often, this person might have the title of project manager or something similar and will be skilled at keeping the group on time and on task.
UX scoping is the perfect time to get into the weeds. At first, broad strokes and big ideas make sense. Now, it’s important to get clear on the details. Your conversation should go beyond basic functionality to specific user interactions. Of course, details might change during development, but it’s better to have as many functional details as possible scoped out up front.
Instead of assuming everyone is on the same page, speak up and double-check by periodically summarizing your conversation. You might discover that you didn’t reach a consensus or, hopefully, that everyone is on the same page. Both findings are valuable.
As you progress through your UX scoping session, make sure that your session facilitator, a technical writer or someone else in the room is taking great notes. Then, after the conversation, circulate a UX scoping document for everyone to read. This can serve as a contract of sorts and confirm that you’re ready to move forward.
For a smooth, productive and efficient app development process, communication is key. While simply having good communication skills goes a long way, UX scoping fosters an additional layer of clarity that can save you time, money and frustration later. It can be tempting to dive right in and start building your app, but slowing down and building a clear game plan with a multidisciplinary team can make all the difference.
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