The scope of your project WILL change over time.
One of the hardest lessons for clients to learn is that no matter how much planning goes into it, no matter how many scenarios you try to envisage, no matter how much work you put into it, as soon as you start working on the project, things are going to start changing.
The reason for this is simple: it's impossible to plan every single tiny little detail. You can't do it. To even attempt it would take far, far longer than just executing the project itself. Project planning is, by necessity, the process of planning out the broad strokes of the project, but the details get decided during the build.
We are fortunate in the software industry in that this dynamic way of working suits us really well - it is trivial to move items around on a page, whereas a home builder can't easily move a wall once it has been built. But even home builders don't plan EVERY detail - as anyone who's ever built a home will tell you, there's hundreds of decisions that get made during construction.
So what does this mean to you, as the client? You should go into a project with a reasonable expectation that the cost estimate you got at the start is just that; an estimate. Things will change, and the end result is going to veer off from the project the original proposal describes.
It's also important to *embrace* the concept of this change, and use it to develop a better end product. Combined with user-centered design, rapid prototyping and continuous delivery, you can quickly develop and test the things you like, before rolling them out into production. Development becomes a cycle, not a process.
This sort of development allows you as the client to get up and running with your base website, and then quickly start rolling out enhancements to meet your marketing needs, e.g. SEO changes, SEM landing pages, creative campaign content, etc. By working dynamically and embracing change, your website goes from being a static entity, always playing catchup with the rest of your organisation, to a platform you can use to base your business' marketing around, which if you're able to execute effectively, is a sure fire way to put yourself ahead of your competitors.
Assembler is a web design agency based in Perth, Western Australia. This blog is intended to be an informal, behind the scenes look into the web design and development industry. If you like our content, please follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook!