How to Avoid Scope Creep when Talking to a New Client Business

Scope creep is such a big monster, which can put any business or freelance service provider into real trouble with big losses. Many of the service providers are experiencing it frequently, but haven’t been heard about the concept of scope creep and its exact definition. Let us dig into it in a bit more detail here.

Scope creep

Before getting into its business definition, let us first explore how it is being experienced by the businesses. Scope creep goes as;

  • A business provider or freelancer starts working with a new client based on an initial requirement shared and a budget set. However, over time the project gets bigger and bigger based on newer client requirements, but the price remains all the same. This works in two ways as;
  1. The clients thinks that these extra works added on the go is within the scope of the actual agreement or,
  2. The client doesn’t understand that they are asking for more things than what was originally agreed at the beginning.

Either ways, it ends up in significant loss to the provider in terms of time and money, and also impairs business relations. If it goes this way, scope creep can be a slippery slope from which it will be so difficult to recover. As a business provider, once if you start accepting scope creep for granted, this is going to be a regular case and the objective of you running a business will be in question.

The meaning of scope creep

For a typical business, scope creep means several things based on the context of the business. For simple understanding, scope creep can be defined as a process with which a project grows beyond its opening goals and anticipated size. However, without having an insightful understanding of the narrow differentiating line, scope creep can be a highly misunderstood concept.

Scope creep should not be viewed as a cost of business. Business owners should always be in full control of business, which means, in service delivery, scope creep should be kept as a negligible or non-existent entity. For this, you should have a perfectly woven set of procedures to follow in project administration.

Key to avoid scope creep – understand their real objective

You have a lesser chance to fall pray to scope creep if you have a fair understanding of the client’s actual objectives. Whereas, this objective will be most of the times different from what they initially share with you.

For example, if you are a web design service company; what the client may want you to do is to build a new web site for their business. But, their actual objective with this online business may be to increase their overall sales by 40% with a user-friendly approach through the new website. When designing the site is the task being given to you, meeting the percentage increment in sales is the actual objective they have kept in mind and want to you to work on.

A close and careful communication with the client is required at the very first point of work agreement signing itself to understand their objective, design a work plan, and also drawing out a possible work plan to the client and make them agree within. You should also communicate with them clearly that the modifications or additions needed on the go will stand above the scope of this initial agreement and will be billed extra.


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