Must-have vs. Nice-to-have feature list

By separating specifications to Must-have and Nice-to-have lists, we are helping clients better understand the process and have more control over the product and the budget.

Clients are usually not familiar with the complexity of certain features. Something that occupies small area on the interface — for instance, a newsletter subscription form or “send to a friend” — might be more complex than the rest of the site.

RFP full of features

When glancing over the request for a proposal that is full of tiny little add-ons, you already know — it will boost the quote up to the sky. Most of the functionalities are in their original form simple and straight-forward, but each project has it’s own twists. Ideally, each detail have to be tailored to perfectly fit the rest of the site.

When the prospect is able to bare her requirements down to absolutely essential parts, the “core”, you are half way there.

This is not a single player match. We as an experienced professionals should help and educate clients — and finally: make them confident in our abilities.

Depending on the nature of the relationship with the client, ask simple questions:

— “If you’d ask someone to create a web site as a favor, what would be the absolutely necessary parts?”.

Break it by milestones

It is a win-win situation. Quoting a Must-have list is so much easier! When you’re both settled with the features/price, call it a milestone, a phase in a process.

During the first phase, you’re about to show the client that you are worth her money. Release this first “essential” version. If she’s satisfied with the results, price and timeline, you gained the trust.

From that point on, discussing the Nice-to-have features is a breeze.

Marko Dugonjić is a designer specialized in user experience design, web typography and web standards. He runs a nanoscale user interface studio Creative Nights and organizes FFWD.PRO, a micro-conference and workshops for web professionals.

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