Insights Session – Creating a Great Scope Document

On Monday, May 17th at 1:15pm at Sage North America’s annual partner conference, Insights, I will be presenting a session entitled Creating a Great Scope Document (GEN55)

This session will be dedicated to the possibility that we can create great scope documents for our customers and that by doing so we will significantly increase the probability of success. Creating such scope documents is hard work and not for everyone. It requires us to think differently than we have in the past. You are hereby invited to open a dialogue on creating such scope documents.


The objectives of this session are to understand the triangle of truth and elements of scope document.

For those of you who plan on attending the session, please comment below with any thoughts or questions that you would especially like me to address during our time together.

10 thoughts on “Insights Session – Creating a Great Scope Document

  1. Ed, Front Line Systems has been creating fixed bid project for less then a year. In our move to Value/fix bid pricing we have been evolving the scope process and have some sucess but also some failures. Here are what we continue to work on.
    1) Level of detail needed and where the detail needs to be. We are not going to document every minute in the scope but we must limit specific areas or where we don’t know the full need.
    2) We have been working on how to allocate for forms and reporting in an install or upgrade process. How can we define resources for reporting (as an example) when the full scope of reporting cannot be known until after the install. We have been working on ideas but would love a discussion on this.
    3) The best practice when a customer questions the price. How much do you share on how you got to the number. I have reduced scope as part of a price reduction but is that the best option.

    I look forward to this session.

  2. Hi Ed – Thanks for asking us for information to prepare an effective workshop at Insights. I am looking for guidance in completing a detailed scope of work for implementation of a project and efficient follow through after the project is complete. A scope that is valuable for the client and my firm but most importantly met the needs discovered through initial assessment. Not just theory either – am looking for examples of real scopes that have been used; tactics in extracting information from the client to develop the scope; and tools or ways of presenting the scope to the client once developed.

  3. HI Ed and the rest of the workshop participants,

    This is a great idea. Thanks for opening up the agenda to the participants.

    What I am looking for is how to create an “upfront contact” with the client so that they know what to expect when the project is completed. I’d like us not to just discuss implementations, as much of our business is finding out how their business processes work or are not working.

    This focus on process can take one anywhere and I worry about open the engagment getting out of hand. Sort of like when I was in the home remodeling sales business. You never knew what was going to be behind that crack in the wall you said you would fix. Yet, everyone expected a fixed price before we proceeded.

    Does a fixed price contract need to have a “range” of hours? to protect both the client and the VAR? That would mean disclosing hourly rates, wouldn’t it?

    Maybe we need a “Scope Document” for this seminar? Is this what you are after with this Q * A ? 🙂

  4. Hi Ed

    As you know, we’ve been using the scope process to help manage our projects for a while now. We continue to struggle though with the level of detail issue too. Especially with regards to custom reports. Trying to scope what reports will be needed is extremely difficult. It becomes a chicken and egg thing. (what do you need?…I don’t know, what do you have?) We typically wind up leaving it out and handling it with change orders. Maybe that’s the best way, but I’m curious if anyone has figured this one out.

  5. Wow! Thank you all for participating already, I believe this will make our Insights experience much better.

    Steven and Sonia, you seem to have similar concerns in the area of scoping reports. My best advice is to scope what you do know, that is why I call the section “Required reports.” You can either match back to the customers current system or have them review and approve some samples. Perhaps the best idea though is to create a predefined contingency budget for reporting and capture reporting new reporting needs as they arise. Once the initially scoped reports are provided, have a meeting with the customer (probably the executive sponsor) and prioritize the needed reports, then price them against the contingency budget.

    Steven, as for the third part of your question, I would share nothing. Would Honda provide the cost sheets for a customer buying a new car? Your costs are none of the customers business. The best idea I can think of when the customer questions price is to talk about the value to solve.

    Vicki, your request in right in line with the plan for this session. I hope you will get value from it.

    Free, this session will focus on the development of scope, but I will allude to some pricing ideas (I always do, I can’t help it). To answer your question, no, you do not need to give a range of hours in a fixed price agreement. You do need to develop a great scope document and enforce change requests.

  6. Hi Ed,
    I have been doing fixed price contracts for over 6 years. I have found one of the biggest factors in getting it right is to know your audience. Meeting the staff you train and understanding their skills sets helps me determine the level of training one will require and therefore the cost. I too like Vicki would like guidance in an efficient follow through upon the completion of the engagement. I generally do an exit conference six months after implementation, but I feel that my process is weak. I am looking forward to developing some tools to help me.

  7. Suzanna and Vicki – Might I suggest that you attend my session on Managing an Engagement from an Issues List which immediately follows the session on Scope. (It is even in the same room.)

    That session will speak about follow through.

  8. Ed – As I have mentioned, we are actively converting existing client projects and support to fixed fee arrangements where the projects and tasks are defined and success measured based on the completion of these, not the hours. This is also the new approach for proposals to prospects. The key, of course, is to document and mutually agree upon the scope.

    What I am looking for is the level of detail required to adequately document the scope in order to “put a box around it”. I need to be aware of potential pitfalls in terms of leaving the scope wide open where we do more work than intended.

  9. Hi John, thanks for commenting.

    The level of detail is dependent on a couple of things. For example, if the customer just wanted you to install the software and train them, that would be fairly high. If they want some customer reports and data integrations well, that is more detailed. If they are looking for customer functionality, that would be a still deeper issue.

    The presentation at Insights will cover the first two, but not the third and I think that requires a deeper knowledge of the particular product than I have.

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