During the time that we work in digital, literally 40% of clients ask the very first question: "Why do we need to make a terms of reference, because we've already discussed everything, so pass our words on to the developers and they will do everything.
It is from this point that all web studios or digital agencies ALWAYS have misunderstandings with customers. And all because we, humans, are all different, and the customer ALWAYS sees his goal and task "in his own way", plus he doesn't know all the "pitfalls" that may occur when performing his task. That is why it is important to convey to the customer all the nuances of the development of his task.
Today, I will help you to understand the misunderstandings of customers and digital agencies, and convey the importance of developing a high-quality terms of reference "point by point". After all, the first and most important condition for a successful project is a detailed and elaborated terms of reference.

Sergey Kim
Content manager

The concept and definition of the terms of reference.

To begin with, let's understand what is the terms of reference (hereinafter TOR). And so, the TOR - a document or a list of documents that define the purpose, the structural framework, different properties and methods of any project, and most importantly a statement of all the needs, criteria and "wants" is presented in the most understandable interpretation of the various executors, in order to avoid additional questions.

Next, let's figure out who makes up these terms of reference:

The following team members are involved in direct drafting of the project's terms of reference:
Business Analyst, who defines the business strategy and business goals of the project;
A project manager who coordinates the entire scope of the project.
First the business analyst will define the business strategy and prescribe all the business goals of the project and then Project Manager (PM) or Product Manager (PM) when talking to the customer, where after working through and discussing each point of development, payment, reporting and all the nuances, will create a statement of work. Project Manager manages your project, he designs and prioritizes, plans and monitors the implementation of tasks, as well as promptly solves any problems that arise during the development project. This specialist is a kind of "bridge" for adequate understanding of the digital agency of all the needs and peculiarities of the client's task.

Let me explain with an example:

The owner wants to build himself a house, no matter what his needs are. He may have a very detailed idea of what his house should look like. However, this does not mean that he can already hire builders and start buying materials.

After all, no construction will begin without a detailed construction plan prepared by architects, engineers and designers. They translate the owner's ideas into units of area and weight, taking into account the strength of materials, soil properties, site level, light intensity, as well as the family's habits and their personal preferences for the future.

The construction plan is a detailed list of all the work that needs to be done to design and erect the home, including the quality, quantity, and all materials.

And only after the construction plan has been completed and approved by both the technicians and the client can construction begin.

That is why the creation of a statement of work is "vital" for the project, for its successful start and development.

And now let's understand what, in fact, will give this TOR for both the client and for developers.

For the customer:
It is easier to understand what will be his budget and what will be the site, as well as determine whether he is satisfied with everything before the development phase;
Competently drawn up TK causes more confidence in the performer;
Insurance against bad faith. If the result does not meet the TOR, the developer is obliged to correct errors;
Maximum transparency: the exact dates of completion of work and a specific cost for each of the works are visible.
For the developer:
It is easier to understand the "desires" of the customer. After answering questions and viewing various examples, all the information is entered into the ToR and approved;
Insurance against "fickle" customers. If there are new requirements, which are not listed in the terms of reference, or contrary to it, additional tasks are negotiated and added to the TOR, which are paid separately, and deadlines are respectively shifted forward;
An example of a good approach to work and competence of the specialists;
Simplifies and speeds up the work. Qualitatively elaborated terms of reference contains maximum information and eliminates misunderstandings.
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