How to cope with missing process deliverables and scope creep
13 Nov 2006 - 4:31am
I am an interaction designer and at the moment I am working on a bit of a
strange project, process wise (or maybe not). Because of this I am walking
into a real problem.
The project was already started up when I joined. Practically this meant
that there was already a document written about the system to be build. It
is neatly labeled 'functional design' and contains several
(screen)flowcharts, user-role descriptions and fully designed screens.
So far so good you would say. But when I started reading through the
document I soon discovered that the fully designed screens actually had a
lot of gaps concerning things like functionality and the relation between
screens. Little things like the screen showing a form but no button to
submit the form. But also bigger things like an FTP field that later turned
out to only be taken metaphorically for the functionality of 'being able to
input files into the system'.
I also found that the screens were completely designed thinking from the
functional requirements and not so much how the users would actually go
about using the application (very classic).
Because of these findings I decided to go a step back in the process.
Because of the (also very classic) constraints I didn't have that much time
so I decided not to produce the functional specs document and user flows but
just do a redesign of the screen organization and flow by means of
wireframes. Taking the original functional design as a functional reference
since this seemed to contain all aspects, although in a very condensed an
interwoven form of 1 document (instead of several specific).
Well I could not have been more wrong. Because of the lack of a good
functional specification, and user flow descriptions we are using the
wireframes as functional reference and user flow description. Which pretty
much means that there is no signed of document of reference to decide on
wether the wireframes are complete or not causing almost unstoppable scope
creep and unclear interface design.
I am guessing this is pretty much a classical (lowbudget) project so I hope
some of you have any experience to share on how to, at least, control the
situation more. Would it be wise to still make the user flows and functional
specs? Taking some time now, but avoiding more time beeing taken later on.