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Mitigating Risks with Firm and Accurate Statements of Work

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You’ve been through it: Your organization identifies a project, releases an RFP, and spends significant resources fleshing out the right partner. You pour time into asking questions of unclear vendors, and then after the award and kick-off meeting, you’re left with a change of scope modification and a headache. All because the original Statement of Work (SOW) wasn’t accurate or detailed enough!

“Scope creep,” or when project terms overtake projections, can have a number of negative effects on a project overall. In the hustle of trying to restructure and realign expectations, you’ll be met with timeline delays, increased cost, and decreased quality of work.

It might feel like the process should be easier, but the truth is that writing an accurate SOW can be challenging. You’re working with multiple stakeholders which may leave you balancing technical requirements with communications needs. These departments often don’t communicate regularly (or efficiently, even), and it can be difficult to come together around a discreet project.

Preventing Scope Creep: 4 Considerations

So, how can you mitigate the risk of scope creep on the front end? Here are four steps you can take during the RFP process to make sure your project expectations are air-tight:

  1. Gather all necessary information. Before you begin writing the SOW, dedicate time to gathering all necessary information about the project. That process may involve working closely with the IT and communications teams to understand the specific requirements and needs of the project. Consider whose voice needs to be heard and who you might not expect to loop into the conversation.

  2. Create a checklist of internal questions. To ensure that you have covered all necessary aspects of the project, consider creating a checklist of internal questions to ask both the IT and communications teams. Your checklist should cover technical requirements, marketing and communication needs, timeline and budget constraints, and any other relevant details.

  3. Review SOW templates. It can be helpful to review SOW templates from vendors to get a sense of the types of information that should be included and the level of detail required. The more granular, the better. Keep in mind that each project is unique, and the SOW should be tailored to the specific needs of the project.

  4. Review and revise your SOW. Once the SOW is written, review it carefully and make any necessary revisions to ensure accuracy and clarity. This may involve going back to your IT and communications teams to ensure that all necessary information is included and that the SOW accurately reflects the needs of the project. You should also review your SOW for any ambiguous or vague language that can be misconstrued later on down the line.

Taking the time to be thorough can save you from project disputes and ensure a successful outcome for all parties.

The Mighty Citizen Process

For each of our projects, Mighty Citizen identifies, analyzes, controls, and actively mitigates risks throughout the project. We leverage a robust Project Management software to monitor the health of each project continuously. The Mighty Citizen process, along with the support of Teamwork, allows us to identify any risks or bottlenecks that may be forming and to proactively assess and mitigate those risks. Our project management fosters collaboration and visibility for all project stakeholders.

Our projects include a dedicated Mighty Citizen Project Manager who serves as the Risk Officer. The Risk Officer will assign each newly identified risk to a project team member, who will assess the risk factor’s exposure and probability and report the analysis results to the Risk Officer. Assigned project members are also responsible for performing the mitigation steps and reporting progress to the Risk Officer biweekly. The Risk Officer drafts and delivers reports and recommendations for ongoing risk avoidance throughout the project.

Curious about our risk mitigation practices? Drop us a line—we’d love to chat.

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