Friday, July 08, 2005

Managing Scope Creep

I am sure every project manager has faced this problem at least once. When a project is in progress, the clients discover new ways of doing things, discover better to have things, or they discover the things that they missed or forgot to mention.

I have been experiencing these kinds of scope creeps from my clients time to time. As the project reaches it's end, before they have to sign off they discover things they must have in order to go live, but forgot to mention in the outset. Obviously these are things that I did not anticipate or budgeted for.

I try to stick to the original project scope as much as possible. But at times in order to strengthen the relationship with the client and with the view of retaining him/her for the long term or just as a favour if he has been a good client, I accommodate a few, provided they are not major work.

But a more professional and realistic approach that I have adopted is to explain to them the gravity of these new requirements and to explain to them the that I have not estimated for these work. But I don't totally let them down. I do offer to tackle these tasks as a separate project.

Doing this gives me a slight advantage. Firstly, I am very clear about what needs to be done and can make a better assessment of the work required and hence can give the client an accurate estimate on time and cost. Because by that time I have already analyzed the problem and and devised a solution as well. Also, since the solution is already in my mind I can provide the solution pretty fast. Thirdly, I get a steady stream of projects. From the point of view of the client, they are also comfortable with working with me because I have already impressed them with my prior work!

From a marketing point of view also, I think my strategy is helpful because I am building long term relationships with my clients. As the saying goes it's more profitable to retain a client than to find a new one. The trick is client satisfaction without too much of a cost to you!

No comments: