3 ways to avoid scope gaps with commercial landscape contractor

December 17, 2014 at 12:05 pm

scope_gapAny successful business transaction requires effective communication. In commercial landscaping, one aspect of transparency is knowing the scope of a project, which means clearly outlining your needs and budget, and then communicating and negotiating with the business you hire to get the job done. Without fine-tuning the scope, you can end up with unwelcome surprises, usually ones that have to do with time, money and how things are done, or not done. That gap between what you expect and what actually happens (also known as the scope gap), is something you want to avoid.

Here are three ways to avoid the scope gap when it comes to working with your commercial landscape contractor – think of it as scope management.

  • Clearly define what it is you need and/or want. Even if you can’t budget the full project at one time, make sure you have completely outlined your needs and wants for the project. Implementing those ideas can take place as you are able, but you should always have the full picture before you begin the work.
  • Identify each component. You may want to ask yourself the following questions: Do you need landscaping for drainage or irrigation; how do you plan to accomplish that? Are you looking to become a certified wildlife habitat; what features would you need? Do you want walkways, seating, lighting? Think in terms of hardscaping and softscapes. There are a lot of things to think about when it comes to upkeep, design, and features, and each is a component of the overall design.
  • Identify key players and project drivers. Knowing who plays what role is essential to avoiding scope gap. You’ll want to know who is going to check on rules, regulations, standards, laws, and ordinances. Do you have that information, or will that be up to the commercial landscape contractor to know or find out? Be aware of who has the ability to procure the correct information. If you already have it, you want to ensure it is communicated properly among your team. Keep the conversations flowing so roles aren’t lost in the shuffle.

Some issues that arise from scope gap are confusion and unnecessary work. If the scope of your project is incomplete, you may find you have issues with timelines or overrunning costs. If you don’t collaborate with your commercial landscape contractor, they are working blind, which can lead to projects that feel as though they never end, or in which the results are unsatisfactory.

Landscaping isn’t always as simple as it seems. Like any project, it needs impeccable management, and a clear scope. Defining your needs for the overall project, breaking the project down and identifying each component, and identifying key players and project drivers—can prevent frustration, headaches, and a chaotic project.