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A scoping exercise is the holy grail of your data project success be it Data Science, Product or Data Engineering. In our last article, The most critical exercise that guarantees Big Data project success!, we discussed how without any structured scoping exercise you are heading toward a road of shallow project goals and project failure.
Just to give a quick recap, a key output of the scoping exercise is that project teams can understand the specific areas of value additions before developing a formal project plan.
A scoping exercise represents a common understanding of the project scope which is apart of the project planning that involves identifying and documenting a list of specific project goals, deliverables, tasks, costs, deadlines for the purpose of facilitating communication among the stakeholders and for setting authorities and limits for the project manager and team.
Whether you are new to data-driven decision making or have been using advanced data analytics to an extent to empower your business decisions, a sophisticated and expert project planning and execution methodology will not only ensure project success but also streamline the entire engagement journey. Our process starts with the Discovery phase where we understand the customer, their business goals, challenges, types of data available and ends with achievable outcomes. Through this complete process, we jointly carry out your data walkthrough, educate you about the nuances of the different technologies and propose a solution which meets all the expectations that help you in achieving your business goals.

We have created a fail-proof step by step process to effectively carry out the scoping exercise.

Phase 1- Discovery

After an initial gathering of the project’s background information from the client, we arrive at a basic understanding of the business, project goals, and data sources. We will also be looking at the information required for asking the right questions during the next phases of scoping exercise.

Phase 2- Exploration and Understanding of Existing System

In this phase, we find out the current business processes & systems in context to the problem statement, relevant data sources, and its interdependencies. As one of the most important phases in the scoping exercise, this phase helps us in proper goal setting, understanding the risk associated with the project and priorities. We also research the existing analytical processes, solutions, and tools used by the different stakeholders of the project.

Phase 3- Analysis of Current Tech Stack

We go through the current technology stack of the client and understand all integration requirements. This process helps in exploring the necessary options to either modify existing architecture or deploy a new tech stack for the company based on the business objectives.

Phase 4- Success Criteria

In this phase, we define the project evaluation parameters, identify project KPIs & measurement benchmarks against which the delivery of the project would be assessed. This aligns the business expectations with the respective stakeholders.

Phase 5- Data Acquisition

We understand that data is the most important component in any data project. Here, we focus in detail on the different data acquisition process, sources of data and available data sets. We also explore options to securely handle client data through the project tenure.

Phase 6- Project Management

We will review the current project management process, communication tools and create a process for engagement with key project stakeholders.

Phase 7- Deliverables

The last phase of scoping exercise is deliverables. In this phase, we provide a project plan that provides complete knowledge on the project deliverables, achievable milestones, and timelines. By this time in the scoping exercise, we are able to outline the potential benefits and propose a methodology to be implemented for project success.
This complete exercise includes all the information needed to launch the project, set boundaries of the project’s deliverables, timelines that form the basis for acceptance and total cost associated with the project. The end output – a detailed project plan ensures full alignment between the client and our project management teams thereby ensuring that the project is positioned on a path that invariably leads to success.

About the Author

Raghavendra is the Assistant Marketing Manager at Sigmoid. He specializes in content marketing domains, digital and social media marketing.