Scope creep is a problem for both client and consultant

Definition of Scope Creep

As a seasoned consultant, I am fully aware that as the project progresses, new questions will arise.  An area that seemed irrelevant might suddenly become a high priority because of the fit with what the client was trying to do.  As long as these questions are within the broad framework of the project, we understand that we will need to dig deeper.  We start to use the term "scope creep" when the client keeps on expanding the scope of the project while pretending that the consultant is clueless about what is going on.

Do not avoid discussing change in scope with the consultant

While it is somewhat understandable that clients who have no authority to increase the budget but are under a lot of pressure to get something done may want to avoid talking about the expanding scope, it is not helpful.  Consultants understand that clients are working under a lot of constraints but when clients expand the scope in a deceptive manner, they feel cheated and taken advantage of.  Even more annoying is when the client seems to assume that consultant is so stupid that she or he does not even realize what is going on.

Be honest at all times

Most consultants like me who work with Fortune 500 companies know what is going on in Corporate America.  We full appreciate that our clients are working hard under tremendous pressure to grow their businesses at minimal cost to the company.  However, if you acknowledge that the scope has to be expanded and you appreciate that the consultant is being so cooperative, most of us will still go along to nurture the relationship and hope that a project in the future will be a lot more profitable.  So let's do business like grownups.