The Importance of Writing a Project Specification or Business Requirement Document
Website and application design and development requires detailed outlines of what the clients need for their project. Detailed project specifications are essential in order to start working on project(s) so we can adhere to the proposed timeline and deliver what we commit to delivering.
Why do clear project specifications mean the ultimate successful and timely completion of projects?
To collect the overall information about the client, we would request the following:
- Company name
- Nature of the business
It is important and helpful in understanding the targeted demographic and the customers that the website will appeal to. It is also very helpful if the client can provide some examples of their competitors’ websites for us to brainstorm on how to approach the project and help them have a competitive edge in the industry. If we can gather this essential information, we can give the most accurate quotation and timeline of completion.
Designing or Redesigning
Does the project involve designing a new site or will we (the developer) have to work on an existing site?
If you have a website but you want to create a new site, please share the link of the existing site with the developers and/or the links of your competitor’s sites so we can get a better feel of your desired website. Remember: the more detailed and thorough you provide your details, the easier it is for the developers to improve the design and optimize your website.
Every website is unique and has different goals and objectives. The most thorough understanding we can get of your expectations, the better. The clearer you can outline your expectations, the easier it is to deliver exactly what you want.
Some expectations may include:
- Displaying products or services
- E-commerce functionality/shopping cart
- Increasing visitors to your website
- Portfolio or a presentation
Key points and the outlined goal of your website helps us define the aspects of your website we should focus on.
Once we have all of the details fleshed out, we can then determine what type of website platform we would recommend.
Some key points to note include the following facets of a website:
- Corporate presentation
- Social network
- Website with specific features and functionality
Once we know these aspects, we can then recommend a CMS (content management system) and either start making the site from scratch or via the use of a template.
How many pages will the site need? Will you require a multilingual option? The project specification document should address all of these factors and more.
For example, an e-commerce site could have hundreds of pages but a corporate site such as a law firm would have only a couple of pages. Adding more pages is of course time consuming, but keep in mind that designing a “simple” four/five-page website will still be time consuming.
Static or Dynamic
In order for us to analyze the website’s needs and give a realistic quote, we’d request the following key questions answered:
Q: Do you want to be able to change the content of your site?
Can you provide all of the content (ie: written, photos, videos, etc)
For instance, if you want to use the same content for a long time, then you need a static site. Having answered that question, we would be able to determine which CMS to use. For clients that want to change their website content frequently, we would opt for a Dynamic CMS so the site content is easily changeable.
We emphasize best practices to make the website functional.
Examples of website functionality:
- Visitor registration with confirmation emails sent to the registered members
- Different categories/sub-categories which open in a drop down menu
- Filters used to narrow down search options
- Responsive to various platforms/devices/browsers
*For responsiveness, we would start working on a responsive design from scratch. Again, the more detailed and elaborate you can be to explain your needs to the designer, the better!
If you have a budget in mind, please be clear about that upfront, so we can try to accommodate it or at the least, manage exceptions. Ultimately, we want to give you the best price quote which accomplishes all of your needs. (For example, an e-commerce site can be designed on Magento and also on Shopify. Shopify will be less expensive than Magento).
Every project has a deadline . Please be very clear about what your desired deadline is and we will do our very best to accommodate it and also let you know if it is realistic. A stringent, inflexible timeline, for example will mean the programmers and designer have to potentially set aside other projects and work on your site exclusively. Ultimately, that type of resource allocation and focus for quicker service means your cost will be higher. This is why providing the information about when your deadline is will help us manage scheduling our team.
As a client and owner of a website, it is helpful if you can describe what your site is about, what you want to accomplish with the site and how you envision your website.
Make sure in the requirement document that everything is clear, no typos, no ambiguities.
If your requirements are as organized as possible, it will act as a comprehensive project guide for the designer and programmer who will be focusing on your website.
The benefits you will have with the specification document are:
- Time saving
The project specification report will save time and ultimately your money! We work according to the report and avoid having to constantly call/email you for tedious questions (ie: color scheme, font type, written content, images etc). If you provide these type of points, we can save time and complete the project on time.
- Cost saving
The project specification is essential for us to come up with a customized service plan. We can cut cost wherever possible and make the project more affordable for you.
- Better design
If we understand your specific needs, we can deliver exactly what you desire in a timely affordable fashion as it eliminates errors that may be noticed at the testing stage.
Our goal is for you to get the site you’re dreaming of and have a smile ob your face! We aim to foster a long term relationship where you feel confident in reaching out to us for your present needs and any likely needs in the future.