Avoid scope creep and manage change better

Avoid Scope Creep & Make Your Clients Use Change Orders

Today, I want to help you avoid scope creep in your projects.

I’m sure that, just like me, you’ve had a client come to you and say “We’ve been working on this project for a while now and I think we need to change the scope of work.”

Once you hear that sentence, you know that trouble is underway…

This is, how scope creep usually starts. But you can fight back (not literally of course). Here’s how:

When starting a project, simply tell your customer that you will be using change orders to track requests while working on the website.

You could say something like:

“We know you probably don’t like change orders, but we want to make the collaboration during the project easier for both sides. Whenever you’d like us to change something after we signed off on the proposal and prototype, we can use the change order to inform you about the consequences of that change.

Likely, implementing that change will result in a delay of the project by XXX days and will also increase the final invoice by XXX dollars. If you’d like us to proceed, please confirm the change order.”

A statement like this clarifies right from the start, that your client has to think about the instructions he’s giving you. Unreasonable demands of changes are out of the window. You’ve just done the first step to avoid scope creep in your project.

Avoid scope creep and manage change better

You might feel uncomfortable with the thought of implementing change orders in your projects. Be aware though that it is just your comfort zone holding you back.

Change orders are a great way to get more money from the client. I use them all the time when there is a change in scope of work that would impact my estimated budget or the timeline. Change orders get clients used to spending more with me and make it easier for me to ask for an increase if needed later on.

If you’re uncertain about how a change request would impact your project, you can reply with a statement like this:

“It would be great if we could still get everything done within your original timeline and budget. But if that doesn’t happen then here are some potential solutions so you can decide how you want us to proceed from there.”

You’d use this response as an entry for negotiating alternative solutions without immediately sacrificing your profits by just implementing the change request.

This tip is one of the most important takeaways I got from Jennifer Bourn’s masterclass on the WP Agency Summit.

If you haven’t yet, sign up for your free access to get the replay of the WP Agency Summit.

All the best,

Jan

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