So you’ve started talking to a potential client about a project, now what? It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t just jump into it without a plan or idea of what will be achieved by the end of a project. Scope is commonly known in the consulting industry as an in-depth description of what will be achieved by the end of a project. With a scope document, you’re able to tell your client how much it will cost to complete the project and what steps will be taken to reach project goals. More often than you think, organizations don’t correctly outline and define the scope of a project. Here are a few ways you can properly scope a project.
Scope Call or Meeting – Start the client’s project off on the right foot by scheduling a time to discuss project expectations. This discussion gives the client an opportunity to clarify their goals and ideas for the project. Lelia Gowland of Forbes suggests that you begin the conversation with a “landscape analysis to fully understand where the client’s organization is struggling and why they reached out.” Starting with simple questions like “why did you reach out?”, or “what current challenge are you facing?” will help you better understand what the client needs. Once you’ve established client needs, start to create a timeline and make sure to discuss project costs.
Follow-Up Email – It’s crucial to follow-up with your client after the initial scope call or meeting. This gives you an opportunity to present what you got out of the first meeting and reassure the client that you understand their challenge. In the email, outline what the problem is and how you plan to work towards a solution. Make sure to also provide a list of deliverables you plan to work on as well.
Determine Budget – Even though you might have discussed pricing with the client during the scope call, it’s important to solidify an actual budget. You can bring up budget details in the follow-up email or on another call / email. Sometimes the client will directly ask you for an estimate while others might be hesitant. It’s difficult to discuss price but it has to be done in order to set the project on the right track for success.
Send a Proposal – Remain open and honest about all aspects of the project by sending the client a simple project proposal that covers the entire scope of the project at different price ranges. The three price options are, low, medium, and premium; low shows “bare bones” pricing for the project, medium is the ideal pricing for you and the client, premium pricing gives a few extra project elements but really helps the client choose the medium option. Giving the client three price options can help them see what can be done with different budget levels. They will then choose what works best for them.
Scoping a project is beneficial for you and the client; you’re able to set expectations while maintaining a level of trust and transparency with the client.