1 document can save hours of the project time

Picture of Damian Winkowski
Damian Winkowski

Work less, but smart. Achieve results and ROI. eCommerce Geek (Magento Experts), right now at Divante eCommerce Software House

Care to share?

At Divante we work with many different clients. Some of them send us e-mails like this:

Hi Folks, could you build an e-shop for me? In Fashion industry. ASAP”.

We feel like this:

Hi Folks, could you build an e-shop for me? In Fashion industry. ASAP

We ask them for completed BRIEF. Sometimes they send us 5-6 additional sentences, sometimes few pages with description of the project. In most cases we still need to ask additional question and make sure we understand everything well. Time is running out and the project hasn’t started. Customer starts getting nervous and he loses his patience.

Tell me what you want!

Every e-commerce project requires a plan. Before even contacting e-commerce Agency, define what’s your requirement. Don’t expect that they will guess. Tell them about your expectation, benchmark similar shops and specify the budget. Yes, budget. Don’t try to hide that you have 1000 USD, but you pretend to have 10 000 USD. You will waste your and agency time and both of you will be frustrated at the end of the project. Honesty helps.

Why you should write a BRIEF?

Clients often say something like this: “I don’t have time”, “You should know what to build for me”, “I don’t know how to write it”. At the end they are disappointed, because project took longer than expected and delivered implementation was different than he thought.

Writing a brief is a good business practice and let me give you a few reasons for that:

  • It saves your time (and Agency as well) – if you know, what you want you can start working faster and more efficiently. Agency can make estimation quicker and advise you with specific solutions.
  • It puts priorities in front of you – you have clear goals and you start with the most important stuff
  • It makes you aware of the project size – some clients require huge shops, but they are not aware how much time and money it will take, until they start writing detailed requirements
  • It makes you look professional in Agencies eyes – believe me, if I see well written brief, I already give + 10 point to the client. Why? Because I see that he knows what he wants, he did his homework and he’s prepared to work with us.

What’s the most important part of a BRIEF?

 Different briefs can have different structure and different key points, but based on our experience with clients we have defined a few important points:

  • Summary of your business and strategy – to help you with e-commerce implementation we need to understand you current situation and vision. Be honest. We are here to advise you and make sure you receive the best consultation.
  • Customer – you know the business like no one else does. Tell us, who is your customer, how he behaves, what’s his expectation and why should he buy from you.
  • Implementation – important part – define what’s your budget, what do you know about e-commerce project, which e-shop is a model example for you, share your knowledge and expectation.
  • Scope of implementation – do you need only implementation or some additional services (RWD, marketing)? Share it with us.
  • Integrations – does you project require external integrations – delivery, payments, some B2B functions?
  • Requirements – if there is something specific that you want, write it down. The more you give, the more feedback you receive.

Written or verbal?

Both. First send some written details to the agency, so they can ask additional questions based on your first contact. Later on set up a call and make sure Agency understands your needs and all tasks are defined clearly.

 Communication is the key.

Remember – the agency can not read your mind. They don’t have your knowledge and experience. That’s why you should be as clear as possible. Don’t forget about critical information, necesarry to complete tasks. Don’t lie. Honesty is the best currency you can have in briefing the Agency. They invest their time to help you and you should respect that.

At Divante we’ve created a detailed BRIEF for e-commerce implementation. Download it and have look, how to describe your project to start professional conversation with e-commerce Agency.



Published April 23, 2014