Changes in scope of projects in progress are not new and can be requested both by the needs of your client and by yourself, if you realize that the consulting project needs changes to achieve the expected result.
However, since the project budget was established according to the initial scope, it is essential that it be renegotiated and changed in case of changes in the scope of the project. In that case, you should assess where the project is - and the payments - are at, and make a new budget from then on.
It is of the utmost importance that you note this already in the first scope change request. Make no mistake: Most of the swings start as a small change here and a little more work there.
Before you know it, the signed proposal and the ongoing service are completely different things - which can be detrimental to all consultancy work and unsafe for both stakeholders.
Of course you will always try to communicate in the clearest way from the beginning, to achieve determine the optimal scope and budget accordingly. However, as the project progresses, it is common for new tasks and resources to emerge. Then, it's time to renegotiate a scope change. But… How to do it?
Start with what has already been done
Before renegotiating what will be going forward, look at what is already done to see what and how many resources are still needed by the end of the project. Also consider whether there is a way to make any adjustments that do not cause renegotiation to escape the initial budget too much.
So note how much of the original budget has been spent and how much (or if) there is still something to pay - a good one. project management tool offers this answer quickly. Taking both positions, compare what has already been executed and what has already been paid to see if there are any remaining differences and develop a renegotiation proposal based on the new demands.
Upon a scope change, in addition to a change in costs, the project may also require a change in the scope of schedule. This is because any change in task and resource management influences delivery production.
So when renegotiating values for scope fluctuations, also remember to talk about deadlines and deliveries. Your customer will not be pleased to be caught off guard in this regard.
Create a new work plan
When establishing a new scope, you need to inform your team about change requests and project updates. In addition to giving everyone the same insight into project progress, you can also benefit from new ideas and solutions that can come from those who work with you.
So work out - preferably together with the team - a new work plan, which encompasses new steps, tasks, and features. Also make clear the changes regarding deadlines and deliveries so that each one knows what changes for whom. It's interesting that you have a team management tool in this sense.
Negotiate with the customer
Now that you have analyzed the numbers for the new scope, it is time to inform the customer about the costs of moving. Sometimes your client doesn't see the project the same way you do and often doesn't understand that those “small differences” can be so costly or time consuming.
So do your homework. Take that comparison you made yourself about the initial and up-to-date scope, as well as the payments made or not, and give the customer a complete picture for ease of understanding and no conflict.
Through your conversation and demonstrated data, show your client that you are in this together, that you are not making it difficult for him, just being realistic about the changes requested.
Take the change to paper
It doesn't matter if you know your client well, if you have done several projects together, if the communication and partnership are wonderful: put the project on paper.
From the outset, you must make a contract that encompasses all the details that involve a project: budget, deadlines, perpetrators, penalties, and including what will be the procedures (and possible additional fees) in case of scope change.
For then, if the situation has changed, the contract changes together. A scope change is a change of the work as a whole and needs to be recorded. To do so, talk to your customer to be very clear about your goals with the change.
Ask all questions, set a timeline, determine the number and frequency of interactions, check for more or different resources, and so on. Then, make a text to add to your contract, delivered for the customer to read and actually agree to sign.
The contract will always be a protection for both sides of the business. Also, if new oscillations start to appear, you can always consult the contract to be sure what is covered or not in the agreement.
Manage customer expectations
Project scope changes - including possible increases in costs and duration of service - may leave your customer more anxious than usual. So in order to keep you safe from execution and deliveries, keep your customer up to date.
Make your client know the progress of the project clearly. Provide status reports, schedule meetings for clarification of doubts, report especially when there are any failures or obstacles that could bring any delay. In short, manage your customer expectations, keeping in touch so that he stays calm.
If you are already aware of your scope change account - both because you have realized the need and because the customer has asked - and you know you need to move the project budget, speak up.
It is not good to wait until the end of the project to tell your client that there has been an increase in the final value due to changes throughout the process. This may sound like opportunism and bad faith.