At Interstates, we believe in building long-term partnerships with our clients, which means we need to know them very well. Our project managers establish these relationships, figuring out how clients prefer to communicate and what critical success factors they value most.
Our project managers are focused on scope management. We need to know the client's "Why" for doing a project. What problem are they trying to solve by moving forward? We mine for this crucial information during the client kickoff meeting. The entire point is ensuring that the scope we deliver to the client will get them to the goal line that they have established, whether explicitly stated or not.
In the design-build world, the full scope is often not defined well at the onset of the project. Digging in to understand what makes the client tick and what a win would look like helps us exceed the client's expectations. This approach is why we are currently touting more than 80% of our work from repeat clients. Some of our clients have been with us for 20 to 30 years.
Critical Elements of Scope Management
For successful scope management, you need the following pieces:
- Work to build trust with the client upfront on the project. Project managers are here not only to help the project team be successful but also the client's team.
- Dig deep into the scope documents with the project team to find the holes that need plugging to define the scope fully.
- Sit down with the client and work through the scope to make sure the picture they have in their head matches the one in our heads.
- Build out the scope in specific details, and then deliver the requirements package to the client for review and approval. Keep working through this until the project manager and client have the same understanding of the scope. Hours spent in this scope definition phase will save considerable time throughout the project and ensure great client satisfaction.
- Check-in with the client while building the deliverables of the project. They must see and agree on what is being built to ensure their needs are met. It is way less expensive to make changes early in the project.
- Keep the client informed when there is a change in scope. Don't surprise the client with huge changes that develop and are shared all at once.
Our client satisfaction speaks to our method of developing client relationships and managing project scope effectively. For more information on how proactive scope management can provide extraordinary value to your next project, please contact us. We'd love to get to know you and your goals.
Jeff Miller, Director of Project Management
This blog was originally published in the Current Connections Spring 2021 issue.