One of the challenges we see on accounts is the time it can take to get back to a client on a request, especially when it is technical. There are different reasons for the delays, but a common one is how long it takes to estimate work.
Here is an example interaction with a client, along with the inner dialogue of the team.
A client recently told me how often she and her team throw out ideas during our meetings. They do it to brainstorm, and when ideas seem worthy, they're curious to understand what's possible. In her words, "a gift message option seems cool, but not if it costs $10k."
When the above dialogue happens, it takes us days (hopefully not weeks) to come back with the $10k price tag. The client may decide to move forward or put it on hold. Sometimes, the client feels frustrated because they thought the work was in scope, having discussed it in a meeting. If I'm not closely involved in the work, this is where I end up getting involved.
Last week, this scenario came up. After chatting with the team, I realized that we're not estimating the work to figure out if it is in scope. We're estimating to get to an accurate number. However, from the start, the team knows whether the request is in scope and roughly what the effort may be. This is where the "gut check" comes in.
Rather than jump to estimation, there's an opportunity to dig deeper to understand the context of every request. Is it an idea or a business need? From there, we can use our gut to anchor the client if the request still makes sense.
In this exchange, the team and client know exactly where each other stands. By getting curious, the team understands the background of the request, so the scope discussion is that much easier. The team may not know the full effort needed to complete the task, but anchoring the client helps them align on what's important and what next steps make sense.