In software consulting, for medium and larger projects of work, there’s generally two parts to the delivery that require Statement of Work.
Part 1: For Discovery/Blueprint – to analyse and understand the business, in order to design new system processes which will hopefully address
Part 2: For project implementation (we write the SOW at the end of Discovery).
Many clients are very reluctant to pay for Discovery, and expect the consulting partner to jump straight into Part 2.
This is like trying to figure out how much it would cost to build a house on a piece of land without trying to find out if the ground is solid, if there are cables/pipes underneath, how feasible to run electricity to the site etc etc.
Two types of project risks:
1. Known unknowns (identified risks) – e.g. pending Brexit negotiations which might impact project
2. Unknown unknowns (unidentified risks) – e.g. who could have planned for covid?
In order to estimate costs, we need to try and reduce risks of at least type (1) by understanding the landscape.
Dispensing with a Discovery means that we will have to document a comprehensive list of assumptions in order to limit project risk exposure and product estimates that make sense.
To set up a project for success, some sort of Discovery is required, so that we may plan how to build that house on solid foundations.
When you have business critical applications running on this foundation, you really don’t want to discover a sinkhole when it’s too late.