This topic comes up for some of my clients in their interactions with their own clients and for me in my interactions with my clients (or prospects). What is in scope? What is out of scope? How do you communicate that information to your client in a way that is respectful for both you and the client? And, on the more therapeutic concept of a boundary, when is it their issue and not your issue?
The most important aspect of this for me is to be crystal clear yourself about what is in and what is out. This starts with the proposal whether it’s formal or informal. For many clients who are in industries that are prone to scope creep(design, copywriting, software development), the proposal can be very formalized to call out what is in and what is specifically out. For others it may simply be to list the services that are included (or excluded) on your website; in your free consultation; or in your brochure. For the former, I often suggest adding an explicit assessment/ discovery/ scoping phase(that is billable) to help to define what will be in and what will be out.
And, yes, I did have a boundary/expectation issue last week. I made a mistake and eventually worked it out- but the middle was messy. I got clarity about what was my responsibility and what wasn’t. I think it’s especially in those moments where things aren’t going well that we jump to give more and more (and sometimes too much). Fortunately, with some coaching from my trusted advisers, I was able to step back and figure out what was good for me and what was good for the other person and find the overlap.
So, how are you managing your boundaries and client expectations?