Method CRM Try it FREE
 Method CRM Help Center
Getting Started Checklist
Best practices
Glossary of common terms
Design Mode layout
Examples of Scoping
Method FAQ

collapse all | expand all
Consulting checklist and scoping
Solution No. 260

How it works
Step 1: Customization Checklist
Step 2: Scoping


One of the great things about Method is its ability to be customized to match your business needs. Whether your customization needs are simple or complex, we are here to help you build a software application that can help your business reach its full potential. However, before we jump into customization, you need to do some groundwork on your own, to ensure a proper foundation exists before we build the application. Think about it this way: imagine you have a small, inefficient kitchen. How do you fix the problem? Hiring a contractor to remodel your existing kitchen to make it more functional is a good start. That's what Method is here to do: by providing a custom business application that's tailored to you, we can help you make your current business processes more efficient.

When designing your custom kitchen, the first step is to do some research and lay out a plan. You need to educate yourself on the various features and styles available: this will help you to determine what you like, and what will fit in your given space and budget. Similarly, before you start designing your custom Method package, it's your responsibility to go over "Step 1: Customization Checklist" and ensure that you have completed all the steps. These steps are in place to help you better understand what features are offered by Method, and what modifications will be required. Once you have completed your checklist and wish to proceed with customization, you can move on to "Step 2: Scoping".

If you were to "scope" your custom kitchen, you would specify the layout, materials, timeline, budget, and any other critical information your contractors might need before they start construction. For Method to be customized the same way, you need to let us know how you currently perform your tasks, what your business process is like, and what you would like to achieve through customizing your application. Just as you would provide a detailed vision to a contractor of your new kitchen's aesthetic and functional elements, you will need to provide us a detailed vision of your ideal application.

So in essence, the scoping exercise is used to gather the information your Business Solutions Specialist will need to complete your customization. It's critical to the customization job, and it can be time consuming for both you and your Business Solutions Specialist, so you need to be as detailed as possible and follow the examples closely. This will ensure that you don't miss any steps that could potentially cost you later on in the process. Once you complete the scoping section and hand it over to your Business Solutions Specialist, he or she will then give you an estimate of the cost for them to review your scope. If additional information or clarification is needed, this is when you'll find out. If information is missing, your Specialist will have to take extra time to clarify that information with you, so additional charges will be incurred.

On the other hand, if you provide the Business Solutions Specialist with all the information and it's neatly put together (see the attached example for details) then your estimate could be substantially less. Remember, your Specialist can't read your mind, so if you want a feature to appear in your customized application, it must appear in the scoping document!

back to top

How it works

Step 1: Complete the Checklist on your own.

Step 2: Fill out the Scoping document on your own; read the requirements carefully and use the example provided as a guideline.

Step 3: Contact your Business Solutions Specialist and provide them your Scoping document.

Step 4: Your Specialist quickly reviews the document and gives you an estimate of how much consulting time will be needed for them to review the document in greater depth.

Step 5: Upon approval, payment, and signing of the Consulting Time Services Agreement, your Specialist goes through the document and lets you know if any information is missing. Any time used during the review of the Scoping document, including phone conversations, emails, and other forms of communication, will be deducted from the purchased consulting time. If more time is required beyond the purchased time, a new estimate is provided to ensure the document is properly reviewed.

If less time is spent, then the difference will be refunded in 30 minutes increments. However, if customization proceeds to the second phase, any unused consulting time will be refunded at the end of phase 2. This way, if additional consulting time is needed during phase 2, the time can be deducted from the existing surplus of purchased time.

Step 6: Your Business Solutions Specialist gives you a ballpark figure for the customization, and you can move onto phase 2 of the customization process.


back to top

Step 1: Customization Checklist

If you are new to customization, there are a few steps we would like you to take before contacting your Business Solutions Specialist to begin your customization. Go through the checklist below and ensure you have completed each step. Once you finish this checklist, you will be prepared to take the next steps towards getting your customization started.

  • Ensure that QuickBooks is set up properly, and that you understand how transactions are done in QuickBooks. If you are unsure how to use QuickBooks, we recommend you consult a QuickBooks ProAdvisor. Your Business Solutions Specialist will not tell you how to structure or plan your process. This is something you, your team and possibly your QuickBooks ProAdvisor will need to work out beforehand.
  • Sign up for a free trial. Once you get the basics of QuickBooks under your belt, head over to our website and sign up for your free trial of Method. This is a good time to assess which existing screens in Method you would like to reuse for your customization, or determine if new screens will need to be created from scratch. Going through each screen will reduce the number of questions you have about Method's current features and functionality, thus reducing the amount of consulting time needed. Your Business Solutions Specialist will be able to tell you what you can and can't do within Method, and provide suggestions for any type of workarounds if needed. You should think of your Specialist as filling a "programmer" or "developer" role for the customization service - in other words, you provide us the specs and we build the application accordingly!
  • View webinars specific to customization. Our Webinars are web-based training sessions we record live every week for our users. These videos are a key ingredient in learning how to use Method to its fullest potential. Our team has put together a dedicated page of webinars, designed to teach visual learners how to do things in Method. When you are selecting screens for your customization, make sure to view the webinars that are pertinent to that topic. This will help you find any features you didn't know about already. You can view the full list of webinars under Method Community Webinars.
  • Review any available documentation(s) relevant to your customization topic. For those of you who learn best from reading a manual, the Method Help Center on our website is dedicated to documentation that will help you understand how Method works. The more you understand what is available to you, the more confident you will feel about what you want to keep, modify or remove. For instance, if you're interested in job costing reports and want to know how it is done in Method, you can read up on it in the Method Field Services articles on our Help Center. You can view the full list of documentation in the Method Help Center.

back to top

Step 2: Scoping

We want to ensure we are able to deliver your customization within a reasonable timeline, and provide you with the as many of the features you request as possible. In turn, we need you to provide us with as much detail as possible during the requirements-gathering process. This section on scoping is designed to help you provide us with all the necessary information, so we can assist you in achieving your goal and overall mission with as little consulting time (and cost to you) as possible. If the information for the steps below is incomplete, your customization job may be delayed and more costly. Avoid unnecessary back-and-forth between you and your Business Solutions Specialist by providing detailed information for all steps below, and use the example provided as a guideline. Once you have completed these steps, you should contact your Specialist to proceed to the next step.

    1. Identify your customization goal, mission and constraints

      Mission - It would be pointless to jump on a bus without knowing your destination, and the same goes for your customizations. Provide a statement outlining the purpose of this customization. Paint us a big picture of what you are trying to accomplish. The mission is the purpose of the customization, or long-term end result, you would like to achieve. Goals are used to achieve the mission, but the mission is the biggest and most important thing to be accomplished.

      Goal - Goals are landmarks that will help you be successful in your overall mission. We need to know what your goals are so we know what we're working towards. Provide a brief summary of the ultimate goal(s) you are trying to achieve with your customizations. Of course, there can be several goals. For example, you may want to have a customer list pre-filtered by sales representative, or a system where reps can see customers based on who is logged in.

      Budget - Let us know your budget for the customization, and we will advise you on the best approach to take. Knowing your budget can help your Business Solutions Specialist determine if your goals are realistic or not. The Specialist might suggest a phased approached to the customization, basically breaking up the customization into smaller parts and spreading it out over a time period that is most convenient for you. When thinking about your customization budget, refer to the following link to view our consulting rates: This will help you get a rough idea of how much your customization will cost.

      Timeline - Give us the date you would like the final solution to be implemented. br />

      TIP: Before deciding on an implementation date, consider the approximate timelines for following:

      Clarify scoping document - approximately 1 week. Keep in mind, the more detailed your scoping document is, the less time your Business Solutions Specialist will require to review it. Contrarily, the less detailed a scoping document is, the longer it will take to review. The example provided, which is nicely documented with a lot of visual representation, would take approximately 3 days to review and clarify.

      Create sketches - approximately 2 weeks. This estimate depends on the number of screens/reports being customized, and the details involved. Keep in mind, these sketches will be handed over to you to review, and modifications might be needed. The example provided would be considered a medium-complexity customization in terms of difficulty level, and would take about 1.5 - 2 weeks.

      Build screens - approximately 1 - 4 weeks. This estimate depends on the number of screens/reports being created, and the complexity of the overall customization. The example provided would be considered a medium-complexity customization in terms of difficulty level, and would take about 3 - 4 weeks.

      Test application - approximately 3 - 4 weeks. By default, you are given a 1 week testing period to do initial testing to ensure the customization is built according to the sketches. You'll also have to allocate time for your Business Solutions Specialist to fix any bugs and make any changes you request, after which you'll have a 2 week testing period for final testing before the customization is completed. The testing period might be prolonged if there are changes in requirements that were not brought up earlier.

    2. Requirements - (Must haves)

      List any critical features that are absolutely required in your customization. This list should include all features you must have; the features without which the customization would no longer be worth doing. It's always better to establish the customization viability early on, before you invest too much time and money in a project that isn't going to do what you want it to do.

    3. Current Workflow Process

      Outline your current business process using a flow chart. This can be done using Microsoft Word, pencil and paper, or any other application that allows you to create flow charts. Specify all applications you currently use, whether it be Microsoft Outlook, Excel, whiteboard, or even pen and paper, and the flow between them. When drawing your flow chart, include only processes relevant to the goals of your customization. Identify current privileges or restrictions based on users, roles or groups.

      Make a drawing of the current screens used in your current application(s). This can be done by free-handing (drawing on paper), using Excel/Word or even using the Pencil Sketch tool (this is the same tool we use to create your final sketches). If you would like to customize existing Method screen(s), please outline what changes you'd like. Include any screen security preferences, if applicable.

    4. Desired Workflow Process

      Outline your desired business process using a flow chart; this can be done using Microsoft Word, pencil and paper, or any other application that would allow you to create flow charts. When drawing your flow chart, include only processes relevant to the goal of the customization. In essence, show us how you would like the workflow to be once the customization is complete. Identify any privileges or restrictions based on users, roles or groups (e.g. someone in an Admin role might have different privileges compared to someone in a Sales role).

      Make a drawing of what you would like the Method screens to look like. This can be done by free-handing (drawing on paper), using Excel/Word or even using the Pencil Sketch tool (this is the same tool that we use to create your final sketches). If you would like to customize existing Method screen(s), please outline the changes you would like. If it's a new screen from scratch, then using pencil/paper or Microsoft Excel or Word, do a sketch of what the screen should look like and how it should function. Outline any fields that should be included and the main table on which it should be based. Include any screen security preferences, if applicable.

    5. Reports (Optional)

      When requesting customization on reports, it's important to provide a layout of the fields to be included - any calculations, headings, preferred fonts, logos etc. Also point out the screen and object that should trigger the report.

      Existing Reports: If you would like to customize an existing Method report, please outline what changes you would like. See the sample report as a guideline.

      New Reports: If it's a new report from scratch, then using pencil/paper or Microsoft Excel or Word, do a sketch of what the report should look like. Also outline any fields that should be included and the main table it should be based off of.

      TIP: The main table is the Method / QuickBooks table you would like the screen data to be stored in.


  1. Glossary of Terms

    Remember that outsiders won't be familiar with your internal lingo. For example, at Method, we use the term "IRP" in place of "Intuit Reseller Program", but anyone on the outside would be clueless. Any term specific to your business/industry should be added to the glossary.


Next step: Scoping Document Example

back to top


Was this article helpful?