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Why Projects Succeed: Minimize Scope and Requirements

Why Projects Succeed: Minimize Scope and Requirements
By Roger Kastner

Whether measured by schedule and budget, scope attainment, stakeholder expectation management, end user adoption, or market success, leading a project to a successful conclusion is challenging. What might be surprising to know is sometimes the challenges are self-inflicted, and one of the leading causes of self-inflicted project failure is attempting to do too much.

The Standish Group, a technology research and consulting firm, studies IT projects and annually produces their “chaos” report which includes statistics on rates of project success, as defined as being on-time and on-budget. In 2009, the Standish Group found that 32% of the IT projects they surveyed were “successful” as defined by on-time and on-scope. Additionally, since some projects successfully hit their on-budget and on-schedule targets but fail to hit the mark with consumers or are not adopted by end-users, the Standish Group might have these in the win/success column however they will never be called a success by stakeholders because they did not deliver on ROI. Read the Complete Article

Variations and Delays – Project Management Processes

Variations and Delays – Project Management Processes
By James Clements

I see a lot of discussions in the Project Management community about putting in place structured change processes and project management processes for claiming schedule delay or events of force majeure, but my experience is that in reality it is just not that simple and it takes experience in Project Management to navigate these politically charged waters.

Project success is very much predicated on the relationships within the project and especially the relationship between the project team, primarily the Project Manager and the client, and given that every change in scope, delay or increase in cost is potentially a source of conflict between these two parties, managing this change is so much more than a simple process to be followed.

What a lot of people fail to recognize is the pressure on a Project Manager to bring home the project on time, schedule and to the desired quality, to keep the client happy because of the promise of future projects, so it’s tough for the Project Manager that starts firing off claims for variations and delay, whether they are warranted or not. Read the Complete Article

IT Project Scope Management – Mission: Possible

IT Project Scope Management – Mission: Possible
By The Grumpy Project Manager

The Project

Scope management is a challenging part of managing an IT project. Quite often project scope is monitored and discussed on project level. Or not actually the scope, but money and time. ‘We are behind the time table and over the budget’, is reported when in fact project’s scope has not been managed properly. Scope is considered to be difficult to define, measure and follow unlike time and money. We very seldom hear conversations like ‘…But what actually is an hour? Some hours feel so long and some go by very fast. We have had mainly these fast hours and therefore it may seem that we are behind the timetable when measured with medium kind of hours…”.

Scope changes don’t just happen, but they are made. IT project scope needs to be managed in several levels; from individual tasks to a corporate IT system scope strategy. Read the Complete Article

How to Clearly Define the Scope of Your Project?

How to Clearly Define the Scope of Your Project?
By Bhavin Gandhi

Have you ever wondered about what exactly does the ‘scope of a project’ mean? I have… I kept on hearing this term from the time when I first started my career. Though I have learned its meaning over the years; people around me still describe the term vaguely. Thus, I am going to provide you with some simple tips, which can help you to clearly define the scope for your project.

  • The deliverables: Let’s say, you are one of those project managers whose projects are very complex, and you don’t know where exactly to start for defining the scope of your project. If you are not sure about how to move forward with this process then you should at least try to define the deliverables of the project. Don’t stress yourself too much. Ask your customers to provide you with tangible (I mean tangible) deliverables that they would like to see at the end of the project.
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Change Management In Projects – 10 Success Factors

Change Management In Projects – 10 Success Factors
By Michael L Young

According to change guru Peter Senge (1999), most change initiatives fail simply because they fail to produce hoped-for results. Given that project management is all about changing the status quo, effective change management is critical to project success.

Whether this is the latest ‘flavor of the month’ programs that senior management rolls out, implementation of an IT system or an internally-driven team initiative, it is important that the change and expectations are effectively managed.

Current thinking indicates that good managers are the key to successful change management. In general, managers who see the need for change are usually correct in their assessment. Senge (1999) says: “companies that fail to sustain significant change end up facing crises. By then their options are greatly reduced.”

It can be quite difficult for managers to view their work on change in a holistic fashion. Read the Complete Article

Fundamental Elements of a Project Scope Document

Fundamental Elements of a Project Scope Document
By Justin Phipps

For project management to be successful, documentation and communication are critical. With a formal, written Project Request in hand, followed by a hosted requirement review and creative meeting with stakeholders, you’re now ready to lock down the details in a Scope Document.

I’m not fooling myself to think a Marketing person will enjoy writing out every detail of every project. What I can promise is the solace of knowing you have documentation if scope creep rears its ugly head.

In this article, I’ll provide you the basic structure of a Scope Document. The level of detail is up to you since, initially, it’s important that you simply begin the process of documentation. This format may change over time to meet the unique requirements of your organization and the clients with whom you interact.

  • Project Description – Provide a summary of the project, including the problem/opportunity, goals/objectives and any information that will help the team understand the need for the project.
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What Is the Reason That Projects Fail?

What Is the Reason That Projects Fail?
By Jolyon Hallows

Stories of spectacular failures abound. A project that was budgeted at ten million dollars is finally killed when it passes a hundred million. A system that was due at the end of July is delivered at the end of September-two years later. Why do these and less extreme but equally frustrating failures haunt projects?

The most commonly cited culprit is bad estimating. It is the conventional wisdom that technical people cannot estimate the cost of lunch, even given a menu. But this is a myth. Of course, there are poor estimators, but even if the entire estimate were off by a hundred percent, the total cost would do no more than double. This is not desirable, but neither is it comparable to the celebrated overruns-the ones that we speak of in hushed tones, thankful that we were not involved.

In fact, most experienced people can estimate reasonably well, and, in the sweep of a large project, the optimism of some estimators usually balances the pessimism of others. Read the Complete Article

How to Reexamine Your Project Estimates Without Any Major Changes to the Project?

How to Reexamine Your Project Estimates Without Any Major Changes to the Project?
By Bhavin Gandhi

Have you ever been in a situation, where you had to revisit your estimations and adjust them accordingly? I have. Few months ago, I have created a roadmap for some of my projects. However, I didn’t have the time to perform a detailed effort/cost analysis for those projects. Thus, I estimated those projects at very high level, and thought of validating those estimates once the actual project starts. Yesterday, I ended up creating a WBS (work break down structure) for one of the projects, and I found that it might go 60% over our allocated budget. That type of increase will either not be funded at all, or the additional funding will probably require another approved project to be cancelled. Thus, I reassessed my estimations. I would like to share my experience through which you can reassess your estimations:

  • Verify your estimates: Before digging up deep and cutting unnecessary costs, you should verify your estimates.
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How to Avoid the Double-Edged Sword of Scope Creep

How to Avoid the Double-Edged Sword of Scope Creep
By Jennifer Brogee

I love the term scope creep because it so adequately describes what can be the downfall of any IT project – the never ending changing of specifications during the building process.

In the early days of working with clients, almost every project I worked on fell victim to scope creep. It’s so easy to do because IT folks and account managers want to please their clients, but scope creep is a double-edged sword – not only does it add non-billable hours of programming to an IT project, it also creates discontent on the client’s side. Ironically, clients are happier when specs are followed religiously and the end product is what was agreed upon at the earliest phase. Based on 12 years of experience, I can say that even though clients may ask to change specs in the middle of the project, they are more satisfied overall when you say, “sure, but that will cost you x.” Knowledge of the effort and costs required to make functionality or design happen results in happier programmers and customers. Read the Complete Article

Project Management Foundations – Managing the Creep

Project Management Foundations – Managing the Creep
By Steve Hart

I have discussed on several occasions that “scope creep” is not a term that I am particularly fond of. The PMBOK® refers to project scope creep as uncontrolled changes. I have heard project managers say on more than one occasion, “My project is suffering from scope creep”. In my mind that statement translates into, “I have been unable to control change on my project”. One of the key responsibilities of the project manager is to identify and control change – in other words “managing the creep” on your project.

Team members often talk about the amount of change on the project. Change is an inevitable component of managing a project – nothing works out exactly as planned. The project manager effectively manages change by maintaining the appropriate balance between control and discipline to manage to the baseline plan, and flexibility to adapt the plans to meet customer expectations. Read the Complete Article

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