When consulting on a project, the work and the guidelines for that work are defined in the project scope. The scope of a project is formally defined in a Statement of Work and tells us what we are doing, and additionally, what we are not doing.
“In-Scope” and “Out-of-Scope” are frequently exchanged phrases that get applied to various types of work the client may need completed, if it is not in scope, then we as consultants can’t touch that work. This is designed to maximize the intention in a project, reducing distractions and energy that won’t directly contribute to the success of the project. If we begin to discuss “Out-of-Scope” items or begin to delve into work that misaligns with the scope, then scope creep becomes a real problem and we find ourselves doing work that changes the very nature of the project.
But what happens when that is exactly what is needed? What does one do when the very work that needs to be done to ensure success, changes last minute?
It’s for these reasons, among others, why scope management is essential to the success of any project. In a perfect world, the scope doesn’t ever change; we as the consultants show up to do a job, we do that job to the exact specifications of the client, then we either leave or we get the privilege of helping that client with other changes.
Unfortunately, perfect world scenarios are scarce. And that isn’t to mention our skills and values surrounding being adaptable. You can’t stop change from happening. Whether that’s in our own personal lives or in the lives of professional projects. Something is always going to pop up and change our clients’ and consultants’ lens of the project.
Maybe a stakeholder was left out of an important conversation. Or a deadline suddenly needs to be moved up due to unforeseen circumstances. Our job is to try and continually manage the scope of the project while remaining nimble.
It is important to manage the scope of a project by continually evaluating if the work being done is positively impacting the project’s success. When a project has a drastic change in the middle of its timeline, that can cost time and money for the client. By establishing the project scope on the front end, that establishes the expectations for the rest of the project and makes the change much easier to manage down the road. Utilizing weekly status updates, monthly stakeholder engagements, and other checkpoints throughout the project timeline can also ensure that scope is being met and the project can be expected to succeed.
Controlling scope is ongoing, requiring constant monitoring and managing, but our goal is to keep everything on track while working to prevent anything scope-related from changing. If you are interested in scope management or our other project management services, contact us today.