I Win, Because The Scope of Work Says So . . . Right?

Uh . . . No.

If your project is going south, and you think you can right it because it’s “in the scope” – you may win a battle but you’ll certainly lose your project.

See – even *if* the folks that signed your scope of work read it all of the way through, and even*if* they understood that when you said “mobile friendly” you meant responsive and not that you were building a mobile app, and even *if* the person that actually signed has come to a meeting or two . . . – you’ve lost.

Don’t get me wrong – you should write a terrific scope of work, and you should do everything you can to make sure that the person signing it understands what they are going to get, and when, and at what price.

But don’t be fooled: your scope of work depreciates like a new car rolling off of the lot, and it’s almost immediately worth far less than you think. Timing, money, people, features – those all change quickly. So if your project is going off the rails, don’t think that your scope of work will save you.

What you do need to think about, from the first client meeting to the final delivery, is about your relationship with the person that signed:

  • Do you tell them the truth?
  • Do you meet/communicate regularly?
  • Do you educate them (appropriately) at every turn, to help them become a better stakeholder?
  • Do you let them know early when something seems to be going awry?

If so – great. You won’t need that scope of work. But if you’ve neglected those things, your scope still won’t save you.


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