Project Management Tips

Slippery Road of Project Scope – Eight Tips

project scope

Ohh Projects! They slip into conflicts.

Sandy, the young Project Manager (and BA), manages the web & mobile app projects.

One morning, a new requirement pops-up, and this is that ‘fixed-priced-contract’. Now this requirement is ‘out-of-scope’ for Sandy and team, but is ‘obvious-and-in-scope’ for client.

Discussions take a bitter turn. Sandy becomes a criminal for the client. “I won’t pay a single dollar for this”, says the client. They and their future projects move away. Poor Sandy and team scratches their head.

How to avoid such a situation? Here are the 8 tips for new Project Managers and Business Analysts (experienced ones know them already ๐Ÿ™‚ )

1. Understand project vision and user personas first

  • 1.1. Start with knowing the vision of client. What problem they are solving OR what opportunity is being created.
  • 1.2. Understand clearly who is going to use the system. Know their age, occupation, education, geography, savvyness, and everything that defines how they will interact with system.

—- This will help you understand why something is required, what is high-priority, what can be taken care later in application.

2. Don’t leave anything to assumptions

  • 2.1. Right from the requirement gathering stage, don’t assume things. Even if they are obvious, discuss them once with client for confirmation.
  • 2.2. Tell the same to client. Ask them to discuss everything, even if it sounds very obvious to them. Tell them, they will get only what is written.
  • 2.3. If there is a disagreement at this stage regarding scope, discuss it properly, keeping the product-vision and user-persona at center rather than your-vision and the client-ego. Remember that a (discussed and resolved) disagreement at this stage is better than a bigger disappointment at later stage.

—- This step will make sure that you both understand each other well.

3. Document Evvvvverything

  • 3.1. In requirement gathering stage, document everything. Show it all to client, ask them to approve it. Tell them clearly in written – they will get what is written. Though you may accept changes later, but saying this will bring in the required attention before they ‘approve’ or ‘sign’ a requirement document. Keep asking for approval before you start.
  • 3.2. Afterwards too, any call, any chat, any email, or any discussion, should be documented. Minutes of Meeting or MOM as we call it with love. Ask the client to confirm what is written and decided. Keep asking. Unless they approve, it is as good as not-documented.

—- This will make sure that you both have clarified that you are on same page.

4. Repeat

  • 4.1. In every meeting or call, discuss the brief points of what will be delivered next. Remind client of reference document.

—- This will make sure that you both are clear of what is coming up next.

5. Deliver working software early

  • 5.1. As Bro Agile says – Deliver working software early.
  • 5.2. This will give an idea to client about how it really looks. This is the first time, they see some walls, against what was shown only on maps till now.

—- This will make sure that client knows what he is getting and a general idea of what he can expect in future.

6. Keep talking to client

  • 6.1. Keep talking to client. Keep giving them regular updates. Talk to them at least once in two days, even if it is just a one-minute update.
  • 6.2. At least one weekly progress report should be a must. Ask the client to respond as ‘Read’.
  • 6.3. If the client is too busy to read and respond for two weeks, consider stopping the work. Yes. A sleeping client has more chances to come up with fancy not-discussed requirements suddenly.

—- This will make sure that client is involved, keeps talking about his future plans, and acknowledges what is delivered to him.

7. Avoid discussing money with client

  • 7.1. As BA/PM, it would be great if you don’t discuss money with client. Just tell them that you will need approval from marketing to go ahead on anything not documented. Tell them you would like to help them achieve this, but hope him to understand that anything not in plan will need time and efforts to be accomplished.
  • 7.2. Meanwhile, discuss the detail of what the client requires, document it, get an approval from client, get the estimations done, and inform marketing of how much ‘extra efforts’ are required.

—- This will make sure that client finds you helping him get his task done, and keeps your relationship flourishing.

8. Test and demo

  • 8.1. Test the application yourself as a user before giving it to client.
  • 8.2. Ask the team to give a demo.
  • 8.3. Then, give a working demo to client. Provide them with all details on how to run the application themselves. Be on call while they are testing for any immediate help. If client gets stuck for anything small in demo, with no one to help, it is a big frustration. This frustration gives rise to a lot of ‘out-of-scope’ items.

—- Being with client on demo will help handle all the small questions which will get over on call rather than coming up as an email mentioning them as issues.

Hope this list helps. All the Best…!

To discuss more, you may contact the author here –

5 thoughts on “Slippery Road of Project Scope – Eight Tips

  1. Awesome list for Project Managers. Looks like it has solution to some of the problems we face too.
    Keep adding more.

  2. Simply want to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in your publish is just
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