This takes time.
Whether you’re managing the creation of software or building a new four-bedroom home, there is usually a window of opportunity for the customer and the project team to continue to work together to ensure that the deliverables are good and working as planned. This can be through a service agreement or a warranty. The bottom line is that most major projects have a certain amount of time allotted for the customer to use the deliverable and to report any problem to the project manager for corrections or support.
This business needs to be defined upfront; it cannot be left to assumptions. It’s no fun when the customer assumes that you and your project team would be supporting the deliverable for eternity when you assume that you’ll be supporting the deliverable for the next three months. No fun at all. A clearly defined Operational Transfer Plan, warranty, or agreed level of service must be defined early in the project. And then stick to it.
If only I had known all this business back when I was sweating out lawn work for Ms. Rite. Scope management, big or small, boils down to agreeing on what the project will and will not deliver. Then both parties must live by the agreement. After all, a deal’s a deal.
Joseph Phillips is the author of five books on project management and is a, PMI Project Management Professional, a CompTIA certified Project Professional, and a Certified Technical Trainer. For more information about Project Management Training, please visit Project Seminars.