Analyzing Scope Creep

Scope Creep

Change in scope could affect both the budget and the timeline (Laureate Education Inc., n.d.). I was responsible for developing a workshop on group work; I did research and started the design of the workshop. After presenting and reviewing a first draft to the client, he asked to include points related to peer assessment. This is a related topic and could enhance the topic, however, it was not specified in the objectives of the workshop, so the assessment part was out of scope and considered as scoop creep. Dr. Solovich explained that scoop creep happens as a result of a new idea from senior management (Laureate Education Inc., n.d.). Besides affecting the timeline for the design, when implementing the workshop, the facilitator ran out of time and was not able to finish all the content which affected the overall quality of the workshop.

At that time, we as a team, accepted the change, but did not plan for it or for the change process. We informally handled the request for change and as a team we were committed to extending the project’s scoop without accounting for the additional time and resources (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, & Sutton, 2008).

Looking back on the experience now, as a project manager, I would have created a change control system (Portny et al., 2008). The system could be achieved by the following steps:

• Review the request for changemonitor_evaluate_correct
• Identify the impact of change on the project in terms of schedule, budget and performance
• Evaluate the disadvantage and benefits of the requested change and the appropriate alternatives if applicable
• Authorize personnel to approve or reject the change
• Communicate the change and ensure it is implemented accurately
• Report the progress and impact of the change to all stakeholders
(Portny et al., 2008).

Another idea is to suggest to the client to create an additional workshop and deal with it as a new project (Laureate Education Inc., n.d.). Additionally, I would use change request forms to formally document the change and assess the impact. These forms could be used as a tool to educate the stakeholders on the change process (Doll, 2001).

Finally, it is sometimes impossible to avoid scope creep (Portny et al., 2008), however, it is possible to monitor and control change; using clear communication and accurate change plans project managers could manage change in projects effectively.

References:
Doll, S. (2001). Seven steps for avoiding scope creep. Retrieved from http://www.techrepublic.com/article/seven-steps-for-avoiding-scope-creep/1045555

Laureate Education Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). Monitoring projects [Video Webcast]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_1957702_1%26url%3D

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

[Unitiled image of a monster with scoop creep]. Retrived from http://rightideas-brightideas.blogspot.ca/2010/05/stop-scope-creep-1-killer-of-projects.html

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4 Responses to Analyzing Scope Creep

  1. Melissa says:

    I like your ideas for creating official documentation of the content change. I think too often as program managers, we informally agree to changes that influence project scope. By documenting, as you have suggested, it forces both us and the client to understand the implications of the request.

  2. tdeark says:

    Dalia,
    Great scenario to discuss scope creep. This is just the type of scope creep we in education face. While talking with an administrator about our iPad implementation, she mentioned how it seems like every day there was something else coming up to interfere with the project or how it required more finances than originally allocated. Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton and Kramer (2012) discuss repeatedly the importance of creating and monitoring the allocation plan and allowing for contingencies. Dr. Stolovitch (2010) recommends 20% of the budge be allocated to contingencies, which will frequently occur in most projects.

    Looking forward to more postings, you are great at writing.
    Teresa DeArk

  3. Michelle says:

    Hi Dalia,

    You raise an excellent point about how senior management in a meeting feedback and desires can lead to scope creep. I have found that in my attempts to please the client and provide high level of service, I’ll say no problem,, we can do that etc..but do not share out the impacts to cost and timeline. Your example reminds me of using a good tactic to say we could do this yes but we will need to first examine the impacts to cost and schedule and share back with you to confirm you like to move forward with this change.
    -Michelle

  4. Sophia says:

    Dalia,
    You posted a great scenario of scope creep. Unfortunately when it comes to designing workshops it makes it diffcult to make changes without affecting the time of the actual workshop. I was wondering why the stakeholder did not advise to hold a trial run of the workshop to evaulate the effectiveness of the change. Some points to keep in mind when addressing scope creep is to evaluate the benefits and disadvantages of the changes, evaluate the impacts into the schedule, performance and cost, identify ways to meet the needs of the stakeholder but possibly provide alternative choices.

    Resources
    Portny S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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