Has this ever happened to you?
You kick off a big project and you’re feeling good. A couple of weeks in and you’re jamming away, until—THE BIG LETDOWN.
Someone comes in, be it your client or your boss, and says, “Wait, that’s not what I had in mind…” or “I thought you were building x, not y.” There goes all your hard work, your projected timelines, and a little bit of your soul.
The “big letdown” is preventable.
The eLearning Brothers Custom Solutions team has developed a strategy we call the Readiness call. During a Readiness call, we go over 7 specific areas with our clients, gathering information and details that will help us stay on target to meet our scoped budget and timeline.
After our recent webinar about how we use this Readiness call to prevent common eLearning development problems like scope creep and last minute change orders, we had many requests for a handout with our top tips. Our Top Strategies to Avoid a Change of Scope are now available in a handy downloadable checklist. You can grab that at the bottom of this blog.
Today we’re going into a little more detail on Step 1 of the 7 Tasks Rockstars Check Off Before Kickoff:
Step 1: Determine Roles and Responsibilities
It’s essential to know your customer—whether that’s an internal department/stakeholder or an external client. During this step, you want to really drill down and find out who the key players are.
Ask these questions:
Who’s the main point of contact?
If you’re working with a big team, and multiple people are responding to your emails, you might be getting conflicting responses or not know who to go to with questions. It’s essential that your client choose one person to be your main contact.
Who should be on correspondence?
In addition to your main point of contact, are there other team members you should be copying on emails and keeping in the loop?
Who’s the decision maker?
Sometimes the decision maker is not your main point of contact. The decision maker might be someone behind the scenes who isn’t involved in the day-to-day work on a project, but makes the final decisions.
Who may provide “Approvals”
As you go through the project and are submitting drafts for review, make sure you know who has the authority on your client’s side to approve work. There’s nothing worse than getting close to the finish line only to discover that the person emailing you approvals didn’t actually have that authority and someone else needs to review your work all over again.
Don’t forget to identify stakeholders, Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), and find out whether Marketing, HR, and/or Legal need to be looped in. Many projects have come to an abrupt standstill just before the finish line because Marketing or Legal didn't have input early on.
Another important question to ask here is “Does your subject matter expert know they’re the subject matter expert for this project?” You might be surprised how many times a client will say “Oh yes, Jill is the subject matter expert on this” before they’ve even informed Jill! Make sure your subject matter experts are aware and engaged from the beginning of a project.
We’ll be going into the next 6 steps in detail in future blogs, but until then, download the Top Strategies to Avoid a Change of Scope checklist to start implementing these techniques in your eLearning development.
Download the checklist to see all the steps to preventing scope creep.