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.
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.
Projects should have goals too, and often goals are tied to a time-sensitive subject like an event, a new product, a contest, etc. By dragging these projects, the project goals may not be met.
So the tip? Negotiate a scope freeze!
A great way to protect the project is to negotiate a scope freeze with stakeholders. This means that nothing gets changed until the current scope is completed. This doesn’t mean that planning for the next phase cannot start prior to the first one being done, it’s even suggested to start planning phase 2 while phase 1 is being completed, assuming you can secure the necessary resources of course.
Not every stakeholder may approve of this, they might feel secure with the idea that they can ask for any change any time, so it will be important to be diplomatic when discussing this and avoid forcing it upon them. Focus on the success of the project and the dangers of allowing constant changes.
Keep a backlog
If changes are requested or mentioned, it doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Anything that his discussed, even if a scope freeze was negotiated, should be noted in a backlog and reviewed when planning for a future phase.
It would be a great waste to forget all of those ideas.
Christian Bisson is a project manager from Montreal, QC, Canada. His PM experience is concentrated in the Internet world, and he helped deliver over a 100 projects over his PM years. You can read more from Christian on his blog.