One of the main reasons projects fail is poor scope definition. Industry members and academics alike have noted that costing, scheduling, and operations are all adversely affected when owners or contractors do a less than adequate job of defining a projects scope. 'Measure Twice, Cut Once', goes the old carpenter’s adage, and everyone who has worked in construction knows that thorough preparation in advance makes for fewer headaches further down the road. But we don't literally have to measure everything twice. With the right plan and the software right tools you can avoid the perils of scope bloat. Here is the definitive guide to scoping your architecture project in 5 steps:
The information you gather from your client will form the basis for your project scope, and it is important to know which questions to ask, so that you can be sure of having the right answers. Start by making a comprehensive list of all the data you will need to gather from your client.
In building your original list you will have noticed that the data tends to fall into several categories. Step two in your scoping process is to group the data according to intuitive categories. For a commercial building project your architecture firm will have categories such as spatial considerations (number of users, intended use of the space, environment, sunlight, other buildings), functional requirements (toilet and kitchen facilities, communal areas, accessibility), design requirements (ideas for specific design features or materials), and physical measurements of the space.
Now that you have listed and categorised the data you are looking for, you can start to draft the questions you are going to ask in order to capture it. When you sit down with your client to scope the project, you will want the conversation to flow in a natural and logical way. Your choice of questions, and the way you group and order them will help you guide this conversation efficiently and productively.
With your questions written and ordered, and the list of data you require specified and grouped, you may now find parts of the process that can be streamlined. Maybe receiving a particular answer will enable you to skip a follow-up question or indeed a whole category. Maybe measurements such as floor areas can be calculated automatically. Could some of the elements such as cedar cladding and external m2 be combined and automatically integrated with your quality surveyors software? Taking the opportunity to use these insights now will make for a smoother experience when you put your scoping plan into practice.
Communicating and sharing your data effectively within your organisation is just as important as collecting it in the first place. Decide in advance how the data you have collected will be deployed - whether by email, or by exporting into a report or automatically integrated via a triggered event with your QS team’s software. This could streamline the pricing of the job and eliminate the risk of data loss and version control. Consider using a service such as salesforce.com or Zapier which will enable you to automatically sync reports or generate an action based on the data you have collected within your mobile data collection software tool. Having crafted your process for architecture project scoping, you can now combine your approach with your workflow analysis and use software like the FormTab app to create a form for effective data collection. For more insights on how to effectively scope projects, or more information on our products, don't hesitate to contact us.