Consulting Solutions Manager Craig Abbott, is back, discussing how the scope, cost and timing of a project impact client expectations.
When we start the proposal process with a prospect we immediately consider the clients expectations regarding three aspects of the project: Scope, Cost and Timing. We feel it is part of our job to manage the prospects expectations with these three areas to ensure a happy client.
One important aspect to remember is that they are interdependent with each other. For example if you want the scope or functionality of a project to increase it is very likely that the cost will increase. If you want more functionality the timing could change as well. The same basic principal applies to the cost of a project. If your budget is smaller than the quoted price, then you will likely have to change the scope of the project or maybe you change when the project goes live allowing the consultant to do the work when less busy.
It is our experience that one of these attributes is the most important to a client. For example if a customer has budget constraints placed on them by the investors then obviously cost is the main concern. Others may have compliance issues and scope is the most important consideration. Or being live on a system by the start of the next fiscal year maybe important meaning time is the most important issue. But just because one issue is seen as more critical than the other this does not mean the others are not important. I have yet to see a job that cost was not considered important by a client, but I have had clients where cost was important but timing was more important.
We have learned over the years how important it is to determine what matters more to the client and to communicate when reality is deviating from expectations, but it is equally important for clients to consider this before they begin to talk to consultants for a project. Be realistic that you cannot have everything, at a low basement cost and have it now. Realize what you can compromise when working on a contract with your consultant. If your consultant is not looking at these attributes then you may have the wrong consultant. But when both sides are honest and realistic in regards to Scope, Cost and Time, success happens.