5 Things to focus on when creating a SOW from home in 2020

By user

In the office, building a scope of work often doesn’t follow a formal process. You can get away with it. Not so with home working. Here’s 5 things to focus on.

In the office it is easier to scope adhoc. As things come in – everyone kinda knows what needs to happen and in what order. But virtually, agencies need stricter guidelines and rules. You need control and clarity around the work that you do for clients. It’s smart and essential at any time but especially when working remotely. Your teams need to get on the same page and get on it quick! Here are the 6 key things you need to focus on.

  1. Define every step of the pricing and scoping process. Agree and commit to a flow. Build in the informal aspects such as, ‘Let’s get together in a room’. Make it a formal digital check-in that ensures that all that needs to happen actually does.
  2. Build a baseline. Lay everything out. Set out what you do for clients – your tactics / deliverables /mechanisms /activities. Be clear about what you do, what you sell and what the price is. It’s prudent, more so now than ever. Don’t do it in Excel – and certainly not in a standalone doc on a local drive. The business can’t collectively own it and be clear about delivery. Take it out of Excel. Build a baseline – a library of what you do. Yes, everything you do is unique. I know. Even so, there is a lot – A LOT — of similarity. Work with that. Don’t reinvent the wheel every time you scope.

    “Planning and managing what you sell should – in any industry – needs to be the centre of what you do.”

  3. Focus on deliverables – not people & hours. It takes time to build the numbers – hours and roles in Excel. Then more time to convert them to actual activities and work flow and to write it in a Word document for clients. (“Err, which version is the final one? Did you sent it to me on email or on Zoom chat?”) It’s dead time. In a any business you need to get to the ‘what’ quick – then calculate resource and PM. Not the other way around. Deliverable-based scoping gets you there in one step. It makes sense.
  4. Consistency and agility. Scopes saved in remote drives that are rarely viewed after approval are of minimal value. You need oversight. Clients too often spot damaging inconsistencies across teams/markets/sister agencies. You need to track, review and update scopes as things change. Step one is to make your SOWs consistent – with terms that are tight – and keep them under review. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to plan for change. Agencies need to change and move on a die. Agility is key.
  5. Streamline operations– the flow – the clarity and the reporting of what you are doing. Streamlined operations make for more effective scopes and more profitable business. Document the approval. Analyse and reconcile scopes against actuals and your baseline – then adjust. Doing this with disparate Excel and Word docs is tricky for sure. A specialist tool is better – especially when remote working. But the key is to create a feedback loop. Understand what activities burn resources and which deliver margin. Putting a process in place and sticking to it will get you started.

So don’t wait. Get your house in order. Define your scoping process and what you are selling. Talk the same language so you can spot duplication and inconsistencies and understand what’s working. Use tools that support collaboration and give you oversight – from any location. Simple right? It could be easier than you think …

#scopebetter #agencyleadership #deliverablebasedpricing