4 Tips for Keeping Project Creep at Bay

You know it’s bound to happen — you take on a new project, everyone seems to be on the same page diving in, and then whoops! something crops up that your client forgot to mention… or the dev team ran into a problem and you have to rework some content… or there’s just one more edit that wouldn’t take but a minute for a pro like yourself, right?

Uh-huh.

Next thing you know, you’re finding yourself working extra hours beyond the scope that your client doesn’t want to pay for, or almost as bad, that you don’t bill for. You’re unhappy; the client is unhappy; no one wants this.

Here’s how to give yourself and your new client a fighting chance when it comes to staving off the project creep problems:

  1. Kick off the project with a detailed project proposal that includes time for feedback and adjustments, and discuss this with the client before work starts so everyone is on the same page, and that page has documentation.
  2. Create a project calendar for yourself, with daily tasks assigned to specific hours if needs be, so you can predict how any curveballs might impact the final deadlines.
  3. Build extra time into your proposal and calendar. Don’t add on a month to a week-long project, but do add in a few hours, maybe even a day, so you’ll have the bandwidth to accept bonus requests with aplomb. You don’t want to rewrite a month’s work halfway into a project, but you do want to have the flexibility to anticipate — and serve — a client’s needs.
  4. Speak up. Going with the flow can hurt if that flow goes against your project. It’s better to have a professional conversation up-front than an uncomfortable one when it’s too late.

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