Under the Hood – How I Define My Scope

Under The Hood - Scope
Image from e.m.papers

When I organize my scope, it’s not a linear process.

Towards the end of the year, I define my goals and objectives for the next one. Then, usually while drinking coffee in the morning, I start blocking out the projects and activities required to achieve those objectives. I start with a rough list in a notepad and ultimately end up with a detailed list of tasks that I capture in my calendar.

The image above illustrates how the process becomes increasingly more granular.

1. First I jot down the big projects and activities I’ll need to do. One of the items listed here is ‘Launch DE store’ This is a project I’m still in the middle of, and it involves creating a German version of my e.m.papers printable wedding invitation shop.

2. Once I’ve decided on the big bucket scope items, it’s time to break those projects down into more granular activities. This image shows how I’ve created a mind map to break the project of launching a German store into larger tasks like translating copy, updating templates, migrating content and building payment systems more prevalent in Europe into the checkout process.

3. Finally I move each project or activity into a task in my calendar where I capture all of the tasks and sub tasks in more detail. I also use this task as a running to-do list to document all of the things that pop-up in association with the individual project. (Note: This is my personal adaptation of a method developed by Sally McGee who wrote Take Your Life Back using Microsoft Outlook)

On a quarterly, monthly and weekly basis I review each Scope item documented in my calendar tasks to plan out the upcoming weeks.

But I’m getting ahead of myself; we’ll get to estimation and planning in future posts!

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