Before I commence a project I take some time to understand and document the purpose of the project, its desired results, and how they will be measured. It’s often the most difficult part of a project but should never be skipped, as it ultimately reduces risk.
Projects run late and exceed their budgets, causing red faces, because of a lack of communication and understanding about exactly what it is the are trying to achieve. Discussing the basics with the right stakeholders or users with questions such as “What do you want this website to do?”, “How do we differ from your competitors?” and “Do we really need to do that?” seem obvious but are often overlooked.
Developing a good requirements document gives your project the best chance of success. Its a fundamental part of any project I work on and the time spent at this stage pays for itself later on.