Part two of my post takes into consideration the consulting team. First and foremost, it is imperative for the project manager to set expectations with the client. Too often at the beginning of a project, clients are not presented with specifics about deliverables, communication guidelines and scope creep.
Prior to the project kick-off meeting, a well defined statement of work must be analyzed by the project team so it is clear which deliverables are slated for the engagement. Once the team understands the items for which they are responsible, it is important to review what exactly is being delivered during the kick-off meeting. Even though clients are attentive to detail, there might be some things that are not clear to them. This process will remove any doubt of the scope of the project and is a great way for the client to build trust in the implementation team.
Setting communication expectations is another important factor to ensure project success. Clients have to be comfortable maintaining open lines of communication with the project team. Additionally, the project team must set communication guidelines with the client. It should be made clear to the client who the point of contact is on the project and for which items the contact is responsible. The project manager’s role should also be clearly defined so that the client is comfortable communicating any issues which might occur during the engagement.
Scope creep is the biggest reason why projects run into difficulties. Even though deliverables have been laid out and agreed to, there are always shades of gray when gathering requirements. At this point, it is crucial for the project team to bring this up with the client as soon as its discovered so there are no misunderstandings regarding the deliverables. What often seem like minor tasks outside the scope can quickly add up to a large amount of additional work. If this is not dealt with properly and in a timely manner, the project team will be overcommitted and eventually over budget. A good exercise to avert this issue is temporarily setting aside all tasks which are not outlined in the statement of work and reviewing them with the client’s internal team to determine whether or not it is covered under the scope. If it is established that some tasks are out of scope, then the project manager has to communicate this to the client immediately so that expectations remain intact.
However, if you are engaging a
By: Russell Karp, RSM,