top of page

7 Tips to Avoid Scope Creep in your Consulting Business

Do you know that scope creep is a real thing that can take a consulting project from manageable to chaos? That’s what the Community Consultants Collective discussed during our recent meetup this month.

7 tips to avoid scope creep
7 Tips to avoid scope creep

This phenomenon, aptly named scope creep, can subtly derail projects and lead to unexpected overtime, budget overruns, and frustrations for both you and your client. In this blog post, we're going to delve into how you can prevent, manage, and navigate through the murky waters of scope creep.

John Summers, CCC Board Member and Founder of Comunify shared with the CCC that while he was Director of Community at Grazitti Interactive, a digital community and marketing agency, the team saw many cases that could and did evolve into scope creep at times, and he learned what was important in being successful.

  1. Having a clear statement of work (SOW)

  2. Bundle services, buckets of hours, topics, experts - must keep track of hours

  3. Agree on a series of deliverables, and estimates

  4. Use a timer to confirm work allotment and to gage next estimates

  5. In the beginning it’s a challenge and it might take longer to learn something

  6. Once you know something, you’ll speed through it, so it’s not going to take as long

  7. Returning and recurring business - just because you do one engagement, they will come back, think about that in the beginning - are they a “one time hit’ or a returning customer

Scope Creep Tips from the Community Consultants Collective members

Jack MeKee, veteran Community Consultant who’s worked with the biggest companies around shared how he works with clients and how it differs for him because he’s much more focused on problem solving within a specific allotment of investment hours. He said a good question to ask is what is the time it will take for this discussion. Or is there a question of is this scope creep or is this a situation to provide value?

Consultants also have to consider if they want to write off an hour or a few hours due to this being something that provides the “above and beyond” feeling for the client without the hassle of asking for a change order. Jake said he always makes sure he feels comfortable with any contract or agreement before signing it, but it depends on the relationships you have with a client.

“Giving yourself enough add-in and every project has time built in that you are pricing above and beyond so that there is “wiggle room” for ability to “go the extra mile” and still get compensated,” Jake said is how he has been successful, in addition to limiting the among of hours he is available for clients to request his time.

Scope Creep: Using trades and sales strategies transfer to consultancy

During the conversation Kelly Pratt shared that in her past career working with construction clients, she had three “lanes” in which she would explain that clients would choose between different types of services by a “good, better, and best” system - similar to how sales works with services.

Consider other ways to incorporate levels within your consultancy so that when you hear a client’s needs you can tell them the journey you’re on with them. For example, you can start with someone who is looking for a quick solution, and tell them that most of your client work is longer-term engagements (1-3 month minimums). (if that’s the case for you) and explain what can be done in each month, or phase of a project.

If you are only helping with marketing, then make sure that they have a team for sales, or if they are working on launching in 30 days, make sure they have a plan for advertising or are partnering with companies to expand their reach - or provide them with ways you can help them with these challenges if they haven’t thought of this yet.

In addition, Laís de Oliveria mentioned that she has an assessment page to ask potential clients a few validation questions to ensure that they are a good fit for her offerings.

Join us for the next Community Consultants Collective session, on August 2nd at 12 PM Eastern by going to CommunityConsultants.Life/Events and signing up for the recurring link, add it to your calendar (click add events) so that you don’t miss any coming up in the future!

Enjoy your week!

Deb Schell CCC Community Coordinator

Stay up to date with the CCC as a member by checking out our resources:

Send questions or comments to


bottom of page