Join Patrick Rauland for an in-depth discussion in this video Purpose of scoping projects, part of Ecommerce: Scoping Projects.
- To show you why scoping projects is important, I'm going to share a story about what happens when it goes wrong. It was the early 2000s, and the U.S. Navy was looking to build a ship. You see, the U.S. Navy has three broad categories of ships. They have aircraft carriers. These carry large numbers of planes and helicopters which are useful for attacking ground targets hundreds of miles away from the ship. They also have destroyers. These carry giant cannons, which are great for destroying other ships and targets near the ocean. And they have specialist ships, like minesweepers, which do incredibly useful operations like prevent your ships from being blown up by mines.
So the problem they were trying to solve is that to handle any one mission, you have to use all of these ships together in a fleet. They wanted to create a single ship that could handle all of these responsibilities on its own, and they actually did, and they called this ship the littoral combat ship. You might be thinking, great, problem solved. But here's where things go off course. The Navy created a wishlist, a ship that has aircraft, cannons, and a mine sweeping technology. And they estimated that it would take $200 million to produce the littoral combat ship, and they even got Congress to fund that $200 million.
Then they started to design the actual ship. To move things along quickly, they started construction immediately thereafter. They knew they wanted helicopters, but they didn't know how many. They knew they wanted cannons, but they didn't know how many. And they knew they wanted to sweep for mines, but they weren't sure exactly how. All of these should have been red flags, because they're undefined, and they're big and expensive features. They finally figured out what they wanted to include in the ship, and now they have to go back and retroactively fix the things that they did on the two ships that they already started building.
In the end, the first two littoral combat ships cost $708 million and $638 million. That's three times the original estimate. And there were performance issues. They had problems with the engine and problems with hull cracking. The chairman of the Armed Services Committee deemed it as having next to no combat capability. In the end, despite this disaster, the Navy did all the right things. They just did them in the wrong order. They should've scoped the entire project first, because when you know how to scope a project, and you do it before you start allocating resources, you can prevent cost overages and you can prevent performance issues.
In this course, we're going to talk about how you can scope the right elements in the right order so that your project doesn't become a littoral combat ship.
- Clarifying jargon
- Picking a proposal strategy
- Asking the right questions
- Estimating the scaling needs of a site
- Determining payment needs
- Understanding shipping needs
- Discussing currencies and taxes
- Determining localization needs
- Creating wireframes and site maps
- Creating prototypes
- Writing and presenting the proposal
- Keeping meetings on track