Defining Your Chatbot Project Scope
So what is a scope of work?
In terms of conversational AI development, a scope of work typically outlines the specific tasks and objectives that will be accomplished during the project. This can include details such as the functionality of the chatbot, the technologies and platforms to be used, the process for testing and deployment, and any ongoing maintenance and support that will be provided.
So it is essentially a detailed description of the project's deliverables and serves as a blueprint for the development team to follow. The scope of work is an agreement between the client and the development agency that outlines what will be delivered and the expectations of both parties in terms of cost, timelines and quality.
The success of a chatbot or voice assistant project relies heavily on the initial planning and discovery stages. It is crucial to establish strong foundations during these stages in order to ensure a smooth progress throughout the project
Chatbot and voice assistant projects can vary greatly in terms of scope and complexity. At The Bot Forge, we often receive inquiries from customers with a wide range of conversational AI project ideas. Some have already done extensive research and have a clear set of high-level requirements in the form of use cases or user stories. Others, however, may only have a general understanding of their problem and want to explore the potential of a chatbot or voice assistant as a solution
By clearly defining the scope of the project, it will be easier to identify the resources, timelines, and budget required to successfully deliver the project
Asking the right 9 questions
Scoping a chatbot or voice assistant project is largely about asking the right questions. We often find the questions we need to ask to pin down the high-level requirements and get an idea of scope are often the same. So we try to get answers to the following questions as soon as possible:
Tell us about your business/department/area...
e.g. We are the market leaders in creating x. My team handles customer service for our organization. We have x staff members and handle approximately y queries a day. Our key metrics are z and z.
What are the business problems that you'd like to address?
e.g. “we have a problem in our company, with getting too many questions about x via y, and they are often the same. What can a chatbot do to help us? Where can it be used?”
What are your objectives?
e.g. we want to use a chatbot to answer these repetitive questions so our team can concentrate on answering the more difficult queries
What is the expected process flow and/or user journey of the chatbot?
e.g. Our users request information via phone call/email/IM. 80% of these questions are simple and repetitive. We want to address these key queries via a chatbot. Further, we wish to provide our users with a simple way to speak to a live agent if more information is needed.
What are the use cases that the chatbot or voice assistant needs to satisfy and how complex are they?
e.g. we have a handful of questions which we get asked a lot. These are standard customer support requests such as where is my order? These can be answered in a few minutes. We also receive 50 or 60 other inquiries about our products which can be very detailed.
What channels does the chatbot need to be deployed to?
e.g. the chatbot will need to be deployed onto our department website as a web widget and a Microsoft Teams chatbot.
Do you need to support hand over to live agents to answer advanced customer queries or to step in when needed?
e.g. there are live agents which we would like to hand over the chat conversation to
What are the additional requirements and/or conditions?
e.g. we need to log a ticket detailing the chat into our system. We need a Spanish language version
How are you going to measure success?
e.g faster response to the customer, reduced hours spent answering questions, NPS
Once we have the answers to these questions, businesses invariably want a rough estimate: how long will the solution take to build? How much will that cost? We find we are now in a better place to give some high-level estimates. We are also in a position where we understand what our customer's problems are and how we can address them with conversational AI.
Digging into more detail for chatbot project scope
Building on our standard questions it's then time to look in more detail at your scope:
- Purpose: Clearly define the purpose of the chatbot, such as automating customer service, providing information, or completing transactions.
- Functionality: Identify the specific tasks that the chatbot will be able to perform, such as answering frequently asked questions, booking appointments, or processing orders.
- User flows: Define the user flow and interactions that the chatbot will have with the user, including the type of input and output (text, voice, etc.).
- Integrations: Identify any systems or APIs that the chatbot will need to integrate with, such as a CRM or inventory management system.
- Languages and tone: Define the language and tone that the chatbot will use to communicate with users.
- Data and security: Define the data that the chatbot will access and the security measures that will be put in place to protect that data.
- Channel Deployment: Identify the platforms and channels where the chatbot will be deployed, such as a website, mobile app, or messaging platform.
- Ongoing maintenance and support: Identify the ongoing maintenance and support that will be required to keep the chatbot running smoothly, such as bug fixes and updates.
- Performance metrics: Define the performance metrics that will be used to measure the chatbot's success, such as response times and customer satisfaction.
- Timeframe: Define the project's start and end dates and the milestones that will be reached along the way.
Tips. Insight. Offers. Are You In?
You Have Your Scope... What Next?
Once you have your chatbot scope it’s time to work closely with your chatbot solutions provider (*tip*, that’s The Bot Forge!) in a more detailed project planning phase which can be broken down into the following steps:
- Sure, here are the steps for the project planning phase of a conversational AI project such as a chatbot or voice assistant:
- Define project goals, and objectives: Clearly identify the project's purpose, what it will deliver and what it will not deliver. Define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) goals to align project objectives with the overall business objectives.
- Identify stakeholders and establish communication plan: Determine who will be impacted by the project, who will be involved in the project, and who will be responsible for approving and implementing the project. Create a communication plan to keep stakeholders informed of project progress, decisions, and issues.
- Assemble project team and assign roles and responsibilities: Identify the resources required to complete the project, including internal team members and external vendors or contractors. Assign specific roles and responsibilities to team members to ensure clear accountability and effective collaboration.
- Create a project plan and schedule: Develop a detailed project plan that outlines the project's activities, dependencies, milestones, and deliverables. Create a schedule that shows the start and end dates for each activity, and allocate resources accordingly.
- Identify risks and develop a risk management plan: Identify potential risks that could impact the project's success, such as budget constraints, schedule delays, or resource shortages. Develop a risk management plan to mitigate or avoid these risks.
- Obtain approval and funding: Once the project plan is complete, present it to stakeholders for review and approval. Obtain the necessary funding to support the project.
- Implement the project plan: With the project plan approved, project team can start to implement the plan and execute the project activities as per the schedule.
- Monitor and control the project: Continuously monitor the project's progress against the plan, identify and resolve issues, and make adjustments as needed.
- Close the project: Once the project is completed, document the results, and perform a post-project review to identify what worked well, what could be improved, and what lessons were learned.
Requirements analysts, Product managers, and stakeholders, conversation designers, AI trainers and developers all need to be involved in the planning stages. The key to a successful project is to ensure the whole team has a shared vision of what the problem is, what the solution is, and who the solution is for. It's this mutual understanding which will ensure the successful creation of a high-level plan and the bedrock for a successful conversational AI project.
About The Bot Forge
Consistently named as one of the top-ranked AI companies in the UK, The Bot Forge is a UK-based agency that specialises in chatbot & voice assistant design, development and optimisation.
If you'd like a no-obligation chat to discuss your project with one of our team, please book a free consultation.