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Analyzing Scope Creep

 Resources are the lifeblood of a project (Stolovitch, 2010). A project manager must be able to manage time and resources and identify the trade-offs when necessary. In my personal job experience, we were tasked by another division within the company to take on a project that they were contracted to complete. The budget they had comprised of rewriting a face-to-face course and making more instructionally sound for instructors to present using PowerPoint. To their success, they were able to complete the learning content for PowerPoint presentation. The client then presented this division with an opportunity to build this very same course as an online course. The students would have to take the course and receive credit at the end. We built the course and presented the alpha version to the client for review. To our surprise, the client stated that we were contracted to deliver an online course that allows the student to be assessed in each Module/Lesson using “knowledge checks”. We were shocked to here such news. This capability would truly delay the course from its initial deliver date to at least four additional months. In order for this change in scope to take place, we would have to schedule a time with all course SME’s, any schoolhouse POC’s that have been designated during the entire efforts to create valid, measureable test questions. Once the content is developed, the programmer must generate a randomize test question bank and ensure it functionality with various combinations of wrong answers to pass. We were totally unaware of this when we took over the contract from the other division. The client we under the impression that this feature was ideally part of any online course that is delivered. As I look back on this experience, this truly could have been avoided. If I were the PM on this project, I would:

 • Implement Change Order forms and educate the project sponsor on the new processes. This will allow me to perform a cost-benefit analysis before scheduling changes requested by the project sponsor.

• Schedule another meeting to thoroughly understand the project vision. Meet with the project sponsor, all SME’s, and POC’s and deliver a change of scope document of the project as a whole for their review and comments (Stolovitch, 2010).

• Establish communication with all stakeholders that is clear, concise, and focused; help everyone stay on target (Stolovitch, 2010).

• Understand the priorities of the add-ons to the project scope, timeline, and budget. Make an ordered list for review throughout the project duration. Items should include budget, deadline, feature delivery, and customer satisfaction. I’ll use this list to justify scheduling decisions once the project has commenced.

• Define deliverables and have them approved by the project sponsor.

In conclusion, projects will undergo changes relating to scope creep. Project managers must be will to communicate will all stakeholders of changes that will impact the timeline, budget, and delivery.

Stolovitch, N. (2010). Project Management: Scope Creep [Motion Picture].

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One comment on “Analyzing Scope Creep

  1. Hello,

    That is a very interesting example of scope creep, it sound like a case study that I read a few weeks ago. Overall I agree with your assessment that the project should have been more formally handed over to your division of the company!

    When I’m researching topics like scope creep I like to seek our examples and read other professionals opinions on the topic. I found a blog article by Shelley Doll that hits on 90% of the key parts of how to avoid or manage scope creep.

    The rules that pertain to your project are as follows in my view:

    – Define your deliverables and have them approved by the project drivers. Deliverables should be general descriptions of functionality to be completed during the project.

    – Break the approved deliverables into actual work requirements. The requirements should be as detailed as necessary and can be completed using a simple spreadsheet. The larger your project, the more detail you should include. If your project spans more than a month or two, don’t forget to include time for software upgrades during development and always include time for ample documentation.

    – Expect that there will be scope creep. Implement Change Order forms early and educate the project drivers on your processes. A Change Order form will allow you to perform a cost-benefit analysis before scheduling (yes, I said scheduling) changes requested by the project drivers.
    (Doll, 2001)

    There are four other rule that were outlined by Doll check them out if interested at:
    http://www.techrepublic.com/article/seven-steps-for-avoiding-scope-creep/1045555

    Reference:
    Doll, S. (2001, March 13). Seven steps for avoiding scope creep | TechRepublic. TechRepublic – A Resource for IT Professionals. Retrieved April 10, 2011, from http://www.techrepublic.com/article/seven-steps-for-avoiding-scope-creep/1045555

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