What is request vs. what is needed

I find it interesting that most projects I work on I have to rescope after the client signs on.  During the first week of the engagement it is my responsibility to take the agreed scope of work and massage it into something that more closely resembles what the client really needs.

This initial gap reflects the information asymmetry that exists between a client with a problem and a consultant who has solved lots of different problems with varying degrees of nuance.  No two problems are the same – even if the symptoms look the same they are usually caused by different root causes.

Sometimes this rescoping just naturally happens.  Everyone on the team realizes the goal is not to follow the letter of the agreement but to solve an agreed upon problem.  As we get further information about what is wrong it is necessary to solve the problem using the most recent information.  This can be a very collaborative process that emphasizes the importance of a partnership relationship between consultant and client.

And sometimes you get a client who doesn’t understand this issue and takes offense at not following the letter of the agreement.  They’ll end up with a solution but not one that really addresses their problems.  It’s like treating a cold by drinking orange juice for the vitamin C.  It makes you feel like you are doing something but all it is really doing is making you feel better by doing something.

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