You hear it all the time, “Project Management.” It doesn’t sound too bad, maybe like you’re just supervising a group of people. Managing projects wouldn’t be so hard would it?
According to the Project Management Institute, project management is “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.” Project managers have a special focus on how to plan and execute a specific project.
The two parts of project management that have the potential to dismantle an entire project or professional relationship are scope creep and client expectations. Managers often get overwhelmed to just meet deadlines and get the project done. Because of this, sometimes they fail to notice when these important aspects show up. Scope creep and client expectations must be cared for with special attention and tools.
First, scope creep is when the project grows out of the manager’s control or there are sudden changes to the project. This can happen for a number of reasons, but usually is the effect of undefined requirements. Managers can control and even prevent scope creep by implementing a few strategies to projects.
Another problem usually associated with project management is keeping up with client expectations. In order to be successful, there should be a relationship between you and your client. This is easier to do with some clients than others. No matter who your client is or what your relationship is with them, it is important to keep a positive reputation.
Managing scope creep and client expectations may sound daunting, but by changing a few things in your business, you won’t have to worry anymore.
- Be aware from the beginning
Understand what your client is requesting, including clear requirements and a specific outcome. Know exactly what their goals and objects are for the project so there is no room for confusion.
- Communicate, communicate, & communicate some more
Talking with your clients on a regular basis helps clear up any confusion between you, and b builds trust. Being available to your clients strengthens relationships and can help combat scope creep when everyone is in involved in the project.
- Be prepared
Have a plan laid out in case the scope changes, or the client changes their mind on an aspect of the project. Be ready for changes, they will happen whether you like it or not. Share with clients when you anticipate change, always be willing to communicate so you can work on the project as a team!
- Use software
There are lots of project management tools out there for you to utilize, and software can be a huge help to management. At TMC, we use Asana to manage our multiple projects. You can use software to give visibility to projects not only for the project managers but also to clients. See what software packages work best for your business.
- Write reports
Generate reports to give to management and clients so that everyone knows how well a project went. Scope creep can be measured better at this point so managers understand what to anticipate and prepare for on the next project. Clients will be able to see where their money went and can open the door for future business and conversations.
Keep in mind what works best for your situation and your clients, because not all project plans are cookie-cutter perfect. The hope is by being more aware of your specific project goals and client requests, you will have a more successful business outcome!