Nobody likes scope creep. If you work in the professional service industry, you may recognize this typical scope-creeping scenario: you just signed a contract for a new project and you want to make sure that it’s on time and within budget. So to start off, you spend countless hours drafting the perfect timeline with hard deadlines to ensure that your staff and your clients meet the required timeframe. When you present the proposed timeline and milestones, everyone is on board and motivated to get the project finalized, and naturally, so are you. You approve the timeline, and your team starts working. A week goes by, and your team completes a task that requires feedback before you can move forward to the next task. You send the completed task to your client for review and approval. This is the point where you either do not get a response from your client, or you receive a response filled with so many change requests that you feel like you have to restart. All this extra work they asked for is not within the original agreement, and it means you could be losing time and money.
Managing your clients’ expectations can be extremely frustrating, and if not done correctly, it can mean disaster for your business. While this may be true, mastering the ability to manage expectations is fundamental to the success of your business. For this reason, it is imperative to understand what actually influences project management success.
According to a recent survey done by Accelo, client-based change requests were the primary reason for projects going over time or over budget, followed by client unresponsiveness and underestimating the time required to complete a task, which is said to be influenced by effective team communication and technologically skilled staff. Similarly, keeping clients responsive and maintaining strong communication and a spirit of cooperation can determine the success of projects. Though these elements can determine the success of projects, it is rare that these factors are considered in project planning, project tracking, or project collaboration software.
The best way to prevent scope creep from taking over your projects and hurting your bottom line is to manage your clients’ expectations by ensuring that you embrace the factors that ultimately determine the success of your projects. The following three techniques will help you deal with scope creep while ensuring that you are keeping your clients happy
Although project delays and budget increases are inherent in most projects, the good news is that they can be reduced or totally eliminated by using a smarter, automated project management platform. Start managing client expectations with a tool that automatically adjusts deadlines, milestones, and budgets and takes into account client-based change requests and client unresponsiveness, so you can ensure the successful outcomes of all your projects. Just click here to try it out today.