What is a Scoping Workshop and why do you need it?

What is a Scoping Workshop or Strategy Workshop?

As a business owner, startup, or entrepreneur working with a development team, a scoping workshop gives you a chance to tell the developer what you need, walk through all the details and steps, and figure out a price for the work.

You may also hear this referred to as a strategy workshop. Basically, it's an opportunity for everyone to get on the same page so the development process unfolds as smoothly as possible.

Why have a scoping workshop?

Whether you're developing an app, a piece of software, or something else, development can be a complex process. Miscommunication or misunderstandings can cost both sides time and money. Worse, a shaky start can upend the entire project, producing a bad result or an end product that doesn't fulfill the client's needs.

Having a scoping or strategy workshop cuts down on hiccups that can derail a project or cause costs to balloon unexpectedly. When you have an in-depth scoping workshop, you can do exactly what the name says: scope out the project from start to finish.

What happens during a scoping workshop?

The ins and outs of a scoping workshop often vary from project to project, and a good development team will tailor the workshop and strategy session to individual clients and their projects. However, there are some fundamentals that tend to happen in all scoping workshops.

At VeryCreatives, our scoping workshops are built around a framework we’ve perfected over time, adapting it as needed for specific clients. We cover a lot of ground during these workshops—depending on the size and scope of your project, this session might take a few hours or even span a couple of days.

Here's a look at what a typical scoping workshop at VeryCreatives involves:

  • Gathering the right people. On the customer side, it should be the product owner. On the agency side, we recommend that the product strategist (or project manager), tech lead, and designer attend.
  • Getting to know each other. A scoping workshop gives both sides a chance to test the waters with respect to how well they’ll work together. You don't want to wait until you're knee-deep in a project to find out there’s a major personality conflict that threatens to derail the whole project.
  • Understanding the goal. What are you trying to achieve? What problem are you attempting to solve? What’s your USP? The scoping workshop gives you a chance to explain your goals and even create a project scope statement to get everyone on the same page. From there, the development team can help you brainstorm the best way to meet those goals.
  • Brainstorming. It's pretty rare for a development idea to follow a single straight line. Instead, there are usually several possible ways to approach a project. A scoping workshop lets both sides brainstorm and come up with the best option. Clients can ask questions and the development team can provide answers and solutions.
  • Prioritizing. We use the scoping workshop to identify the project's priorities. This is where we gather the information we need to eventually create a report that includes a project roadmap, timing, costs, and everything else pertinent to the project.
  • Scheduling. Creating a work timeline with milestones and check-in points is one of the most important parts of a scoping workshop. This sets the agenda for the whole project and ensures that all the moving parts eventually come together for the finished project.

It’s worth mentioning that we also make sure to schedule plenty of breaks, keep things informal, and use the time to get to know each other. We also like to steer clear of a no-PC-and-no-phone rule (it sets the wrong tone and can even be counterproductive).

Every VeryCreatives scoping workshop results in:

  • A realistic MVP scope
  • A timeline
  • A budget

We generally take a few days to process all the materials gleaned during the workshop. This lets the client get a proper understanding of how the collaboration will work and what they can expect.

VeryCreatives charges a fee for a scoping workshop, as we make sure we always have senior team members in attendance. In return, we never ask clients to commit to us. We encourage them to take the report to another team for development if they choose to pursue a different route (though they never do—we think that says a lot about the thoroughness and dedication of our team at every stage).

Get an agile team on your team

Interested in making your idea a reality? The agile development team at VeryCreatives is excited to help. Learn more about what we do by scheduling a scoping workshop today. Book a call and someone from our team will be in touch.

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Máté Várkonyi

Máté Várkonyi

Co-founder of VeryCreatives



Digital Product Agency

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