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How to Control Change Requests

How to Control Change Requests
By Dave Nielsen

Changes are an important part of any project. There are 2 factors at work that guarantee the generation of change requests: changes that happen to the marketplace the project is aimed at and an unclear understanding of the goals and objectives of the project. The first factor is immutable, we can’t stop the world outside our door changing whether we like it or not. Successful projects are agile enough to respond to those stimuli and re-invent themselves so that when the product or service of the project hits the marketplace it’s the right thing delivered at the right time.

Change requests that are a result of a stakeholder’s unclear understanding of the goals and objectives of the project are easier to avoid. Clear communications about the project’s overall goals and objectives will place the project on a firm footing. Ensuring that the right stakeholders review project requirements and that the right decision makers approve them is also helpful in avoiding change requests that arise from an unclear understanding of project goals, objectives, and requirements. Read the Complete Article

One Great Tip to Help Control Scope

One Great Tip to Help Control Scope
By Christian Bisson

As project managers, controlling scope can be very challenging.

You’ll want to avoid scope creep but if managed properly, scope changes can mean more budget. At first glance, this seems like a good thing, and in a way, it is. But there are a few others aspects to verify.

Be careful

For example, you can negotiate more time to the schedule, but this can result in the project dragging over a long period of time, and actually never end.

Another aspect to watch out more is as scope changes, team motivation diminishes. People need to close down projects and move on to the next challenge.

Still in the subject of team members, depending on how your organization work with resources, team members may not be available past the initial deadline planned. This may result in resource switches that add risk or cost to your project. Read the Complete Article

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

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

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

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

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 Change

Project Management Foundations – Managing Change
By Steve Hart

In my experience as a project manager, I have found one of the most critical best practice areas during the project execution phase to be the ability to effectively manage change. 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. Nobody wants to be “that” project manager that leads a project that delivers on-time and under budget, but still has an unhappy customer. Below I describe in more detail the following aspects of managing change:

  • What defines a change in the context of your project
  • What are the sources of change
  • What are the early warning signs of change
  • Establishing a process to manage change
  • Measuring the cumulative impact of change

What Defines Change

By the end of the planning phase, the project baseline is established and approved by the project sponsor and project core team. Read the Complete Article

Managing Scope Creep in Project Management

Managing Scope Creep in Project Management
By Claudia Vandermilt

Project managers have been plagued by scope creep since the dawn of project management. Managing scope creep in project management is a challenging job that needs clearly defined, documented and controlled specifications. Scope creep – also known as feature creep, focus creep, creeping functionality and kitchen-sink syndrome – can sneak up, morph and destroy a project.

Project Scope Defined

What does “project scope” mean? Simply put, it is a project’s parameters. The project scope should be identified in a detailed description identifying and describing all major deliverables and any project boundaries. It needs to include sufficient information for the project team to produce the desired product on time and within budget. In general, the project scope is determined early in the process, documented and agreed upon by all project stakeholders.
How Does Scope Creep Happen?

Even when there’s a clearly defined project scope, you still have to beware of scope creep. Read the Complete Article

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