Ah, the project scope. The crucial document many of us follow as a guideline while we’re designing or engineering the next greatest thing. Its entire existence is to keep the focus by describing in detail the new product’s soon to be features, costs, and milestone dates. Love them or hate them, many of us couldn’t work without one. I’ve written dozens of scopes and over the years I’ve learned how to make them even better. Here is a way to bring more meaning to this famous document and consequently the work we produce. I call it… the Last Page.

How To Enhance Your Project Scope

The Last Page of the scope is where you list the value opportunities like capabilities that can be added to meeting the user’s needs, wants, and desires on sort of a deeper level. A product’s value to the consumer is no longer the most features for the lowest cost. Value has become synonymous with desirability. Don’t worry this is not that complicated and the benefits of listing these objectives far outweigh the extra work..

Here’s what you do. List all seven value opportunities (Emotion, Aesthetics, Identity, Impact, Ergonomics, Technology, & Quality) and each sub-topic listed below on a piece of paper. Now briefly write how the product will address each sub topic using the questions below as a guide. It’s okay if you don’t know all the answers so early in the development cycle you can finish it later and it’s also okay if your product might not be applicable to all the sub topics (e.g. how the product will taste). Remember, a project scope is a living document and nothing has to be written in stone.

1. Emotion– This value opportunity defines the experience the user has with the final product and defines the emotional connection to the design.

Adventure: How will the product promote a user’s excitement and product/brand exploration?

Independence: How will the product promote a sense of freedom from current constrains?

Security: How will the product provide a feeling of safety and stability?

Sensuality: How will the product promote a luxurious experience?

Confidence: How will the product promote the user’s self assurance and motivation to use the product?

Power: How will the product promote authority, control, and feeling of supremacy?

2. Aesthetics– This value opportunity focuses on sensory perception of the way the product looks and feels. It’s an exciting opportunity to add value especially if a competitor’s product lacks this focus.

Visual: How will the product relate to shape, color, and texture that the target market will find attractive?

Tactile: How will the product enhance the physical interaction between the product and user?

Auditory: How will the product emit the appropriate sounds and only the appropriate sounds?

Olfactory: How will the product have an agreeable smell?

Taste: How will the product (those that are to be eaten) have an optimum flavor?

3. Product Identity– This value opportunity expressing uniqueness, style, and appropriateness in time and in the user’s environment. It also addresses the identity the user feels while owning the product..

Personality: How will the product fit in among its product class yet differentiate itself from its competition?

Point in time: How will the product capture industry trends in a clear way?

Sense of place: How will the product be designed to appropriately fit into the user’s environment?

4. Impact– This value opportunity can be a powerful way a company can demonstrate how it can be a responsible manufacture while building on brand value and corporate image in the process.

Social: How will the product effect the lifestyle of a target group?

Environmental: How will the product address the effects on the environment due to manufacturing, resource during operation, and recycling?

5. Ergonomics– This value opportunity focused on usability and both the short-term and long-term effects on the perception of a product. Consumers look for a comfortable fit and simple controls that hold up over time with consistency.

Ease of use: How will the product be easy to use and promote natural body movement?

Safety: How will the product be safe to use and shielded harmful features from the user?

Comfort: How will the product be comfortable to use and eliminate unnecessary physical or mental stress?

6. Core Technology– This value opportunity enables a product to function properly and perform to consistent expectations.

Enabling: How will this product use the company’s core technology to meets the customer’s expectations in the product?

Reliable: How will this product work consistently and at high level of performance over time?

7. Quality–  This value opportunity addresses the accuracy of manufacturing methods focusing not on the manufacturing process, but the expectation of the process.

Craftsmanship: How will this product address the fit and finish intent consistently?

Durability: How will this product perform over time?

You can clearly see how addressing these opportunities invites discussions that otherwise might not have surfaced. Not only does this extra page in the scope bring a deeper level to why you are creating the product, but it also creates a blueprint on how to go about doing it. Plus the marketing teams will have outstanding selling points to use just by reading down this list.

I picked up this trick up from the highly recommended book Creating Breakthrough Products and have been successfully using it ever since 2007. The book states best:

“Value can be broken down into specific attributes that contribute to a product’s usefulness, usability, and desirability, and connect a product’s features to that value. Since products enable an experience for the user, the better the experience, the greater the value of the product to the consumer.”