Scope Change Identification and Documentation must occur as soon as practicable. Changes in the scope of work (SOW) are common during the design process. Some are minor changes and some can have significant impacts on schedule and budget. Timely notification to the Client that the SOW needs to be revised is essential for maintaining good relationships with the Client and for the Consultant to properly manage the schedule and budget.
A Change in Scope template is available as Exhibit 1 at https://loweconsultingllc.com/ – see the “Book” tab. It is simple, straightforward, and can be issued quickly by the Consultant to the Client providing the desired documentation as to why the Consultant believes that the scope needs to be changed. The form can also be used to notify the Client of the Consultant’s estimate of potential changes in the schedule and budget. Use of the form can also establish that SOW changes are important and whether or not they require a change in schedule and/or budget. The form may also be used to document scope changes that occur early in the project that require minimal effort to implement so the Consultant may choose to make the change without schedule change or additional cost. In any event, the Client must be informed and agreement sought.
All too often Consultants accept verbal direction from the Client that is not within the SOW, proceed with the change if is minor, believing that it can be absorbed within the budget. This sets an undesirable precedent with the Client who can come to expect that “scope creep” is an acceptable process. By using the form, future requests for change in SOW can be expected to be documented and, when appropriate, result in revisions to the schedule or budget.
But remember, the Change in Scope form is not a contract amendment, which is always required whenever the scope, schedule or budget changes. A Contract Amendment template is available as Exhibit 2 at https://loweconsultingllc.com/ – see the “Book” tab.