D…..is for Define!

That’s right you’ve got the SOW “Scope of Work” signed and you are cheering about the new business win. All your thoughts are on the prize, but yet reality sets back in and you’ve got to actually do the project...here is where the success starts or the path to failure is upon you...

This is the most important part which is the start.. So you ask yourself.. What am I building? How am I going to build it? How long is this really going to take?

In this phase we define the project goals, explore the strategies, quantify the scope, and understand the timing.

To complete this phase we will review the following topics:

Strategic Goals, Features, Content, Technical Requirements, Resourcing and High Level Timeline.

To dive a little deeper for each piece let me break it down for you..

Strategic Goals

To better understand strategic and branding issues, we focus on:

Defining the project goals as well as ‘the problem that needs to be solved’.

Defining the branding strategy including the most appropriate ‘look and feel’ the site should have.

Defining what types of information and features should be included to best meet the target audiences needs.

Explore other online resources that might be appropriate for the target audience.


Explore and define site features and functionality. Create a wire frame site map illustrating a high level view of the site and navigation structure. Create a functional matrix of components of the site that need to be built.


Create a spreadsheet that defines the amount of pages, type of content, frequency of updates for each page etc. For this section I highly recommend using Google documents as it acts as a really nice place to share your information with your client and the most current version is always up to date!

Technical Requirements

Define technical requirements such as: website functionality, hosting, and the post launch website revision process.


Define who is going to work on the project, do you have the staff to work on this or will you need to outsource any skill-sets needed for this project?


Define the project milestones that need to be met. If the client has a desired due date it is important to understand where this date comes from. Is this date tied to a PR campaign, or is this date just pulled out of thin air? This is your opportunity to take the date and build the internal milestones that get you to the end goal or reset the client expectations based on the understood scope of the project.


So you've put together all of this information and now it's time to present the client with the approach, the timeline, and known scope of the project. It is key to ensure the client knows how this project is going to be layed out so there won't be any hiccups along the way. 

The next phase of this project is the design phase which we will explore different creative layout options and take all of the pieces of gathered information from the define phase and start presenting the user with "mockups" of what the digital campaign would look like!

Now go Define your project!!

About the Author:
Natacha Gaymer-Jones is the Director of Production at HYFN  located in Hermosa Beach, California. She currently lives in West Hollywood, California and enjoys leading her team at HYFN in producing some of the best websites launching in 2013 and 2014. She also enjoys taking her weekly spin classes at Flywheel! 




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