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Scope Creep

Scope Creep
By Steven G. Lauck

Scope Creep – two words that should never be spoken. I prefer to identify it as “Weak Project Management”. Successful project delivery is formed at the beginning of the project by a solid foundation. If this foundation is “weak” failure begins to creep in and all is usually lost. Corrective actions can be taken later in the project to recover but there is usually still a cost – Budget, Quality, Schedule and/or Scope.

Scope Creep comes down to just a few issues. Below are my corrective actions for each of them:

Weak project manager:

  • Learn how to be a project manager who takes charge and ownership of the project and team. A good start: Bare Knuckled Project Management.
  • Learn how to be a project leader as well.

Weak executive sponsor:

  • Be clear about what a sponsor should do. A good place to start: Be a Killer Sponsor.
Read the Complete Article

Analyzing Scope Creep

Analyzing Scope Creep
By Torey Diggs

I am currently involved in a project that is at the beginning stages of scope creep. At the current school I work at, our leadership team consists of teacher leaders and administrators. Our teacher leaders three summers ago started creating a collaborative team manual to help drive the mission of our school, which is to increase student achievement by working in collaborative teams. For the most part the administrators are not involved in the process except by only providing a framework of what they would like us to work during the summer months. The project was supposed to be a three stage project that would be fully implemented in three years.

In the first year, the goal of the project was to create the language for the manual and start setting guidelines on how to accomplish the mission and goals of our school. During the second year of work on the manual, the project goal was to hone in on the Response to intervention (RTI) section of our manual and revise the manual to provide more detailed insight on how our teams are to work together using RTI to achieve our school mission. Read the Complete Article

Four Axioms for Controlling Change

Four Axioms for Controlling Change
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

Change is a constant in life and certainly a constant challenge in project management.

Our customers don’t know what they don’t know, and so they routinely ask for something more or different. Our teams are comprised of talented, creative people who often recognize opportunities for improvement of either the project’s deliverables or the processes agreed to for producing those deliverables.

The problem is that the team is so intimately involved with the work of the project that they often make changes without recognizing that they have done so.

Of course, there are also the changes that are driven by evolving business objectives, new constraints from regulations, the marketplace, etc. With change impacting the project from all of these sources, both on a requested and on a discovered basis, how can a project manager possibly expect to control anything? Read the Complete Article

Project Management – Define Scope

Project Management – Define Scope
By Lani Dodge, Northwest University

How big is the project? Is it as big as the world? To ease the mind of the project manager, thankfully no, it has boundaries. And, if the work goes outside of these boundaries, then it is more than likely going to become out of balance. It becomes more difficult to manage, and it will likely exceed cost, schedule, or both. Therefore, the objective of define project scope is to describe that boundary, what is within, and what is without. This allows the project manager to state: “That request is out-of-scope” when what are judged to be new requirements come to the surface. Be aware as well the difference between product scope, the features and functions of a product or service, and project scope, the work that needs to be accomplished to deliver a product or service.

The project charter, stakeholder register, and the requirements document are immediate predecessors for the define scope function. Read the Complete Article

Manage Scope Change or Let It Creep?

Manage Scope Change or Let It Creep?
By Andrea Brockmeier

One of my favorite definitions of projects is “Projects are how organizations adapt to change.” Projects are essentially the vehicle for organizational change. Getting stakeholder agreement around that idea would not likely present much of a challenge.

Change within a project, however, is often the source of great consternation among project managers and stakeholders, particularly as it relates to scope.

Why do we get so frustrated with scope change on projects? It’s hardly avoidable that our projects will look different tomorrow, next week, next month.

Perhaps it’s not that change, per se, is the problem. Maybe it’s that unmanaged change is the problem.

What does it mean to manage changes on projects? Four things should happen to changes on projects. They should be:

  • Reviewed

    Project changes need to be reviewed by the appropriate stakeholder as defined in the change management plan, however formal or informal that may be.

Read the Complete Article

What’s Scope Creep and Tips To Avoid It

What’s Scope Creep and Tips To Avoid It
By Christian Bisson

Scope creep is the one of the worst enemy for any PM if not managed properly. It includes anything that was not part of the initial scope of your project and got added without properly going through any processes.

One little scope creep may not have much of an impact, but if they stack up, or if one is a major one, the project can severely go over budget, off schedule, or end up….never ending! There are a few sources of scope creep: client request, team members gold plating (adding more to the project than they should), unknown project requirement that got identified, risks that became issues, etc.

Here are some tips to prevent those scope creep:

  • Manage stakeholder expectations

    This is important, no matter how great what you deliver is, if expectations are above what’s delivered, than you will spend all the budget adjusting, and will end with an unsatisfied client.

Read the Complete Article

7 Scope Questions to Ask at Project Initiation

7 Scope Questions to Ask at Project Initiation
By Mark Norman

There are many scoping questions that the project manager must ask during a project. Below are a series of questions I use during project initiation:

  1. What is the objective of the project

    Preferably this should be recorded in a single sentence and reflect what your sponsor wishes to achieve. Everything you do in the project should be able to be referred back to this statement.

  2. What are the deliverables

    All projects produce something, these are the project deliverables. These need to be defined early in the project, clearly and have a measure of quality that can be used to judge their fitness for purpose.

  3. Are you solving a problem or building a solution

    This defines whether you are working to deliver a prescribed solution or working to find a way to solve a problem with, as yet, undefined deliverables. The answer to this question will drive how you allocate resources and manage the project.

Read the Complete Article

Taking the Panic Out of Project Change Management

Taking the Panic Out of Project Change Management
By Jack Howard

As a Project Manager, one of the most intimidating moments of your career is when you have to present a change request with significant budget and schedule impacts. It’s naturally uncomfortable, because you could be asking your sponsor to spend more than they expected to get something later than they wanted. However these kinds of situations don’t have to be the panic-inducing frenzy that they often seem to be. Just focus on these steps to keep the situation under control:

  • Firmly establish a baseline scope – most projects suffer from scope ambiguity, which emasculates your leverage when it comes to dealing with change. The lack of a baseline project scope puts any future change up for interpretation. Define the goals, objectives, characteristics and requirements for your project and you’ll have a foundation upon which to manage change. Continue to refine scope throughout the project and reinforce after each major deliverable that a change from the most recent deliverable will result in a change request.
Read the Complete Article

Project Scope Management

Project Scope Management
By Cora Systems

Project Scope Management

Figure 1: Project Scope Management

Today organizations are facing situations where great ideas get shelved due to their expectations. Project Managers need to be able to show others the expectations and vision project “X” will bring once completed. As you can envisage, planning is essential in the successful management of projects and this where the project scope management becomes valuable.

A scope statement is probably the most important document produced for a project however it can be over shadowed and ultimately put on the long finger leading to project creep. The project scope is developed within the initial planning stages of a project and could be looked at as being a blueprint for a project. When fully utilised the project scope details the characteristics of the project once it is completed, this also helps manage the expectations of the project stakeholders to ensure they know exactly what was agreed from the start. Read the Complete Article

How To Save a Failing Project and When To Walk Away From One?

How To Save a Failing Project and When To Walk Away From One?
By Satish Kumar

PMOs and project managers are faced with failing projects more often than they would like to and it often turns out to be a demoralizing experience for all stakeholders. Consequently, it is vital for PMOs to recognize the signs of a failing project and take corrective action before it is too late. In order to engineer a successful turnaround, PMOs and PMs need to watch for certain leading indicators of project failure.

Leading Indicators of Project Failure

Progressive scope creep: While some scope changes may be necessary, constant updates to the project scope indicates that the project sponsor and other stakeholders don’t have their business case buttoned up or the assumptions under which the project was sanctioned are no longer valid.

High rate of churn in project staff: It is normal to have long projects to have planned rotation of staff. Read the Complete Article

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