Project Managers are often confronted with substantial budget variances and different expectations during execution. Why and how to avoid?
In some cases, these variances and expectations become already predictable right from the start of a project.
Sometimes by making the wrong decision on which project methodology or approach to be used.
What’s in for the customer?
Before starting up any project, one another should ask himself the question what the customer exactly wants:
- A predictable budget?
- A predictable scope?
- A predictable planning?
- Predictable deliverables, documentation, etc …
- Does the customer want an indication of the project cost and how detailed should it be (read unclear scope?)
In most cases, if the answer is “yes” to one of the above questions, it is more than recommended to define the exact scope of a solution. By means of the envision-phase, you should be able to provide the customer with necessary details of his project cost and expected project deliverables, by listing up his needs on a high-level scale. These needs should enable any provider to determine the high-level scope of the solution, as well as any other services which may be required within a project.
In addition, the envision phase should lead to a business case, providing the customer insights on the gains and the pains of a project. This strategic advantage will help the customer on making the right choices on which deliverables to be included in the scope. Therefore the envision phase should assure customer value: in some cases the business case may lead to the conclusion that some of the deliverables should or should not be executed in order to fulfill the customer’s needs. Clearly this will avoid overhead in f.ex. analysing or developing deliverables which do not contribute to any of the customer gains, as defined in the business case.
What’s in for the project team?
By defining a clear scope, expectations and budget following advantages should be taken in consideration:
- easier planning of deliverables
- shorter analysis phase (high-level scope & requirements are already defined)
- easier follow-up on the budget
- transparent change management (scope is already clearly defined)
- aligned expectations between customer and supplier about deliverables