Planning and Defining Business Requirements in the Web Development

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Planning and Defining Business Requirements in the Web Development

Planning and defining business requirements is crucial to the success of any business endeavor and the designing and building of a website is no different. This means communicating with clients early on, prior to the developments stage, and clearly understanding their needs and the goals they want the website to achieve. Determining time, budget, and technical constraints as well as defining in detail project objectives and guidelines are also important steps that must be documented (Harbour). The purpose of the website should be apparent to all parties involved, including developers, designers, managers, and stakeholders.

Certainly, fulfilling these requirements is easier said than done considering how many people can be involved in a project, each with their own perspectives. In the long run, however, the effort expended early on can determine the overall success of a project.

Sufficient planning serves several important roles. It helps developers and clients narrow down and agree upon project expectations, which initially could be unclear or unrealistic in regard to available resources. It also saves money because the project will be delivered on schedule without delays, which limits expensive revisions caused by inaccurate design and miscommunication; with clearly defined objectives, the overall quality of the project will be improved and the chance for disagreement will be reduced (The Importance of Planning & Preproduction). The significance of the initial planning stage is so important to a project’s success that some agencies spend roughly half of their time and budget within this development phase (The Importance of Planning & Preproduction).

Managing scope creeps, in particular, is an issue that commonly affects web development projects and is largely caused by insufficient communication between a company and its clients (Harbour). Scope creep occurs when new requirements are added to a project that was not part of its original objectives. Several features that clients commonly request web developers implement that may creep into a project include additional web pages; image slideshows; blogging services; additional images and content; periodic updates; and search engine optimizations (Harbour).

Senior project analyst Tim Clark offers several pieces of advice to limit scope creep. Be vigilant right from the beginning, examining and responding to client requests as soon as possible; some requested features may simply be too ambitious, unreasonable, or not clearly defined (Clark). Clarify any misunderstandings immediately and if new features must be implemented, be up front with the client in regards to any added costs and time restrictions this might cause (Clark).

While proper planning can indeed be considered the most important stage of a project, ample communication must occur throughout the website’s development, including when it goes live, in order to encourage successful iteration and feedback.

By | 2017-05-16T22:09:06+00:00 May 16th, 2017|Opinion|4 Comments

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Saber Ben Hassen is the founder of WeeblyTutorials.com and an active internet snarker. Between his many internet side projects, he finds time to hang out with his family & friends, play soccer and travel when possible.

4 Comments

  1. Adam Horn May 16, 2017 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    I completely agree with you about having things agreed upon before the production takes places.

    I was going to make a website for some local business, and they wanted me to make the site before I really knew what I was supposed to make. They just gave me another site and wanted it to look similar. The looks are only a portion of the details though. I needed more than what they were giving me such as pictures, information, ect. I didn’t end up taking on the job because I didn’t want to be put in that situation where they didn’t even know what they wanted or needed to say, and as someone relatively new to web development, I didn’t know what the right questions were to ask to get the information I needed.

    • Brittany Gaines May 16, 2017 at 10:43 pm - Reply

      I think you made the right decision to not take the job! You would have needed all the necessary materials such as photos and information, etc. as you said, to be able to produce a quality business site. I imagine there would have been a lot of frustration working with a client who does not even know what they want the results of a project to be!

  2. Levi Forrister May 16, 2017 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    Planning is essential to almost every aspect of business and is especially important when it comes to designing websites for businesses. Every website, whether it be for business or personal use, should have a very detailed plan that covers the content, site layout, requirements, budget, and target audience.

  3. Brian May 24, 2017 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    I agree that having a process to address additional requests is very beneficial. I think being consistent, clear, and firm in your planning phases will save you a tremendous amount of time and money. If the clients are aware of what your guidelines are and it is clear that you will stick to them, then you likely will have less clients trying to involve themselves in manipulating the project after it has been started.

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