The Challenge of Project Scoping
I am part of a consulting team who is working to craft recommendations for our client regarding how to improve the environmental footprint of their paper products category. I am interested in consulting as a career and would recommend that anyone with similar interests take UGBA 192. The course is a healthy blend of theory and project-based learning. The project-based aspect of the class requires that you apply the tools learned in class, such as project scoping, to real life situations. In my team’s experience that is easier said than done.
Project scoping has proven to be both a challenging and educational exercise for my team. Initially, our client wanted an analysis of the environmental footprint of its paper products category. Due to the complexity of its supply chain, as well the sheer volume of paper it uses, we felt it necessary to limit our analysis to two specific areas of paper usage. Another challenge my team faced was the fact that our research findings revealed truly interesting and innovative practices that were being used in the publishing industry, yet this information did not fit within our project scope. We were hesitant to approach our client once again to change the project scope, but did so anyways. We communicated to our client the value of including our findings in the project scope and suggested to the client that we move forward in this new direction. Our client was pleased with our ideas and approved the new project scope.
Gaining our clients approval gave the team a boost of confidence that we are on the path to providing value to our client. Our ideas helped the client to see new opportunities that they had not even considered. The lesson learned here is that your client may be open to your ideas regarding altering the project scope, but it is up to you to communicate the value in doing so. Your ideas could be incredibly valuable to the success of the project and you should not wait until the final project deliverable to mention them as an aside. Another way to include interesting findings that do not fall within your project scope, would be to address them in your recommendations as an area they might consider looking into during the next phase of the project. If you structure your findings in a way that is intriguing to your client, it is possible they will turn to you, as a consultant, for the next phase of the project.