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Client Matters: Needs + Resources + Location + Schedule + Budget = Scope

This post is two months overdue. Somehow I never linked to the third article in Client Matters, my bimonthly column in UXmatters, where I give UX professionals an honest look at initiating and managing relationships with clients.

Published in December 2009, the article is titled, Needs + Resources + Location + Schedule + Budget = Scope. A bit longwinded, I know, but important nonetheless. In the article I discuss all of the considerations that must go into determining the scope of a project before you sign the contract and begin the engagement. My goal is to get people to recognize that they should take the reigns over determining what chunk of work to bite off and why. Don’t let yourself get bullied into taking on something that’s just plain unrealistic!

Now that you’ve convinced a client they want to work with you, it’s up to you to define the terms of your working agreement. Your goal in the contract negotiation process is not to determine the best price, but to most accurately define the scope of your project. This is possibly the most critical factor in the success of your project, and it’s something most consultants completely fail to follow through on.

A Statement of Work (SOW) formally defines the scope of the activities and deliverables for a project. BusinessDictionary.com defines scope as the “chronological division of work to be performed under a contract or subcontract in the completion of a project.”

Some clients have a very specific chunk of work in mind, while others just know they need help. In either scenario, use your expertise to determine the appropriate amount of work to tackle, according to several key variables: needs, resources, location, schedule, and budget.

You must—I repeat, must—get all of these variables nailed down before you sign a contract or start a stitch of work. I will go into the details of contracts in another column, but suffice it to say that making the effort to determine the specifics ahead of time is always worthwhile, to ensure your contract clearly defines and establishes the terms of engagement with your client.

I’ve used the equation in my title quite purposefully: Needs + Resources + Location + Schedule + Budget = Scope. If you reduce any of the variables of your project, you must also reduce the overall project scope—and vice versa. A smaller budget, smaller scope. Fewer resources, smaller scope. Better location, bigger scope. Greater needs, bigger scope. To best understand this synergistic relationship, let’s go through each variable one by one.

Read the full article on UXmatters, and stay tuned for future articles in my Client Matters column.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Whitney Hess, paul mooney and chris willet, Christine Flora. Christine Flora said: RT @whitneyhess: New blog post: Client Matters: Needs + Resources + Location + Schedule + Budget = Scope http://bit.ly/bvj7it […]

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