Habit 5 – Agree the scope
Many professionals have a poor reputation for setting a strategy, planning and scoping for a particular matter. After the honeymoon of winning a project they want start work and are reluctant to adequately document:
a) Exactly what the client wants out of the project (see Habit 1)
b) The project strategy
c) A plan that sets out tasks, resources, and timelines
d) The roles of the different parties
e) The exact scope of work
f) Risks and contingencies
The benefits of a clear plan are great:
- It ensures that all the different stakeholders are clear about the objectives, and that work is focussed on meeting them (and not “nice to have” tasks).
- It enables you to measure success at the conclusion of the project.
- It avoids scope creep, and therefore maintains profitability .
- It maintains high levels of client satisfaction – many client complaints about professional firms are about misaligned expectations.
Increasingly, professional services firms are being expected to move away from the traditional ‘time and materials’ pricing model by clients. Without the skills and ability to appropriately scope an opportunity, firms are likely taking on risk that they might be able to mitigate to the benefit of themselves and ultimately the client.