Even after you’ve established the project’s scope, some stakeholders may want to discuss adjusting it. They may feel that the project’s current scope will require too much work with too few resources, that the timeline isn’t realistic given the scope, or that the project requires additional tasks and objectives. When your stakeholders ask to revisit a project’s scope, you should meet with them so they can raise their concerns. Knowing how to effectively facilitate scope negotiations will allow you to reach solutions that are suitable for everyone.
Tips for navigating scope with stakeholders
- Understand motivations. Before your discussion, consider each stakeholder’s motivations for wanting to adjust the project’s scope. Some of those motivations are budgetary (such as wanting to reduce the project’s costs), some are interpersonal (such as wanting more time to complete tasks), and some are related to personal career goals (such as maintaining their current position or striving for a promotion). Understanding your stakeholders’ motivations can help you work together to find a compromise.
- Set the scene. Start the discussion with a reflection on why you are meeting. Remind your stakeholders why you are engaged in this project, and assure them that you all share a common goal.
- Listen first. Hear what your stakeholders have to say before you present your views. This will demonstrate your desire to understand the other party’s perspective. Acknowledging their point of view may make it easier for them to accept your suggestions or solutions when their ideas or opinions differ from yours.
- Ask questions to define goals. Be thorough and ask as many questions as you feel necessary to understand what the stakeholder wants. This might include getting them to define their customer or business goals. Strive for getting specific, measurable details from your stakeholders, so that later, you’ll be able to determine whether you’ve successfully met their goals. Eliciting language that is measurable (rather than subjective or unclear) will help you define goals. An example of a specific, measurable goal could be: “We want to cut the amount of time it takes customers to sign up for our newsletter by at least 30 percent.”