If you’re in the agency business for any length of time, you’ve managed or dealt with the scope control.

It’ll sneak up on you, and before you know it, you’ve lost money to your clients, your team morale has dropped, and things are out of control.

Things to learn-

  1.  Introduction
  2. How do you Control the Scope of your Project
  3. Steps to Confirm Smooth Change Control Process
  4. Process of Scope Control
  5. Conclusion
  6. FAQ


 It turns out that 43% of projects are challenged by Scope Control -Avoiding Too Many Changes in Projects.

Not having scope control is responsible for making projects four times more expensive than they were initially quoted.

 So, if you’re running an agency or any service business where you’re scoping projects, you need to handle scope control.

 Plan for it so you can do it and have a plan for how to deal with it.

 When it comes up and if you’re not familiar with scope control,

Luckily you, that’s when features, deliverables, or expectations are slowly added to a project without the budget or timeline being adjusted.

 If you adjusted the budget and timeline, that does not scope control. That’s just a project growing as it should, and that’s cool.

 It’s when all those other things happen, and the budget or the timeline is not how to adjust it.

How do you Control the Scope of your Project

 So, how you do scope control? The biggest thing is by managing expectations.

I recommend you start with a discovery session, so after you’ve made the proposal, you’re a boat to kick-off the project.

 Before you do anything, this discovery process is like a fact-finding mission.

So sit down with the client and your key team members and go through all the details of the project.

The timeline expectations are, who’s going to be responsible for it?

What gets it all there to make sure everybody’s clear on who’s doing what?

And when it’ll give you a chance to make sure that there aren’t any assumptions being made.

Either by the client or by your team, this is a perfect way to get everything down in one place.

Another way to do scope control is to break your projects down into smaller sprints, so it’s easier to scope small projects.

 Big projects are hard to scope because there are many details, and there are unknown factors that could happen initially.

What’s happening later in the project, so think of ways to break a big project down into smaller sprints.

Then you quote each one of those that it’ll be easier to manage expectations timelines and deliverables.

It will help cut back on any chance for scope control to come in so another way to do scope control.

Involve your team in the scoping of the project:

Many times, maybe your business development person or Account Manager makes promises to unrealistic clients.

May be they’re just not knowledgeable about how long certain things take.

So you should always made it a practice to talk to our developers, designers, the copywriters, and strategists to go over the deliverables.

Also, find out how long they think it’ll take because you can make assumptions.

I think something could be done in a couple of days and it’s going to take three weeks or vice-versa.

 I thought something would be complicated, and it only took a short amount of time.

 So get the people involved who are responsible for delivering the work in scoping the project. This will make sure there are fewer surprises.

Scope Control - Avoiding Too Many Changes in Projects

Steps to Confirm Smooth Change Control Process

  • A clean and direct definition of the change
  • Review and then submit the change request
  • Specify options and creating a response document
  • Final decision.

Process of Scope Control

You’ve had the discovery session; you’ve defined the scope with your team now.

Clearly define project & responsibility: 

You need to clearly define the rules and obligations from both the client and agency side, managing these expectations with the client.

 So they know what’s going to happen will cut down on the number of calls and emails they’re going to be making wonder.

 Where are things, when are we going to get this, what am I going to get, how am I going to get it?

So make that clear at the beginning.

 So set up a project, make a statement of work walk through each point with them in person.

 Don’t just assume they’re going to read it because as we all know people don’t write things,

So make sure you go through it with them in person and get them to sign off on it.

Make any changes right there this will make sure again it’s covering everybody’s but.

Everybody knows who’s doing, what, when, and who’s responsible for what, when, etc.

Life is uncertain changes happen. The scope may need to change.

Scope Control - Avoiding Too Many Changes in Projects

Have a good plan for changes:

If you have an idea to handle those changes, there can be small changes that clients request that are no big deal.

You’ve got to be careful that those changes don’t get big enough and start taking your timeline or budget off.

The rails, so you need to have a plan in place for how you’re going to handle change requests when they come up.

Moreover, you need to make that clear to the clients at the beginning.

So they know how to process them, do they call you, do they call the designer directly to understand what happens, and the implications for asking for a change request.

Make sure that’s clear for everybody, and again they’ll be less likely to make casual requests.

For the project change, if they know what the implications are for the overall project, so have a change request plan in place to make it clear and follow it, this one seems simple.

Get it Signed:

 Get it approved, not the proposal they’ve signed the proposal I’m talking about this project plan.

Whether it’s a statement of work or a project plan to get it signed, there had been times when I naively thought of a client.

They understand it better, but that can come back to bite you later if clients decide they need a way out.

They’re going to skip it if they haven’t signed anything they may just be like well I didn’t sign anything I didn’t understand, or I miss that point.

So if you haven’t had them sign it to say no I went through all these points

I understand what’s involved with the project and what the implications are to change it you may not have a stand on when it comes to the scope of the project getting out of control so get it signed.

Scope Control - Avoiding Too Many Changes in Projects

Use project management software:

 Another thing about scope control is you should organize yourself that will do scope control.

I managed projects that an agency everything went control into base camp, and that helped keep my team organized.

All the milestones were there. All the tools, all of the folders, all the files I can invite the client. Everything was there so nobody could say they didn’t or couldn’t find a file.

 They didn’t know when something was due and didn’t have a way to communicate. It all happened there.

 Now there are lots of other project management software that you can use I’ve just used Basecamp for like 12 years and love it, 

So whatever you want to use just make sure you have a perfect project management software tool and use it because no tool is good unless you use it.

Everybody has to be on board with that, so sign up yourself to be fair, not all clients.

Is your team guilty of scope control:

Are you guilty of scope control? Can the agency be guilty of scope control too? I’ve seen this happen.

I worked in agencies where there’s a team member who has taken a project sideways, which made the project big out of control.


For example, I used to work with an art director who was commonly guilty of this.

So let’s say the project was for product packaging, so he hired us to design a label.

He would decide in the middle of that well their logo needs to be redone. That added an extra thirty to forty hours as he did all these like fresh iterations of the logo that he didn’t cover for at all.

If he had spoken to me before he did all that work, I could have gone back to the client and upsold them to have their logo redeveloped.

But because he went ahead and did the work and then told me and by the way through the timelines off because he was so busy doing that, he didn’t stick to the original project’s timeframe.

I wasn’t really able to get that covered, and so really watch your team see what they’re doing in Basecamp check in with them to see what their progress is and make sure they’re sticking to the project parameters.

If they do have suggestions for extra things to add to the project, get them to bring it up early because, again, that’s an opportunity to upsell your client, which is excellent.

 So just watch for those, but don’t blame it all in the client really watch your team when it comes to scope control.


So scope control is a natural part of project management it happens to all friendly people.

But, the key is to have a plan in place of how you’re going to try and do it what you’re going to do is when it comes up and how you’re going to learn from it.

Afterward, so just keep those points in mind, and that it’s all about managing expectations and looking for opportunities to upsell, so hopefully, these tips will help you.


What are the steps to confirm a smooth change control process?

Ans. The steps are: 
A clean and direct definition of the change
Review and then submit the change request
Specify options and creating a response document
Final decision

How to control the scope of the project?

I recommend you start with a discovery session, so after you’ve made the proposal and it’s signed off, you’re a boat to kick-off the project.
Before you do anything, this discovery process is like a fact-finding mission, so sit down with the client and your key team members and go through all the details of the project.