Over the past few months it has never ceased to amaze me how many of my classmates are currently practicing the very subject we are matriculating. Every time I post on a discussion topic or create a blog post, I feel like a fish out of water when I have to come up with a situation that fits the week’s learning objective. Even when I have the luxury of choosing a ‘project’ that is personal (because I have none to choose from that are professional) I struggle. A few weeks ago, I used a quilting project to underline the importance of effective communication on a project. Now I must relay a time when I suffered from ‘scope creep’ on a project. Put simply, scope creep can happen when uncontrolled changes or objectives are added to the project scope as a result of ill-defined objectives or scope; improper documentation; or lack of control over a project’s budget or schedule. Theses unforeseen occurrences can put a pause (or complete stop) to a project when allocated resources reach or exceed predetermined capacity. (Project Scope Creep) Scope creep can be scary, but can be managed.
Tim Clark offers 8 tips to prevent or manage scope creep from overtaking a project:
- Be vigilant from day one.
- Understand your client’s vision
- Understand the project’s requirements
- Include a process for changing scope
- Guard against gold plating.
- Use your online project management software
- Know when to say “no”
- If you can’t say “no”, use alternatives – zero sum game, start a denied request back-log, price the scope creep. (Clark, 2014)
Creating a plan from the outset and including some contingencies (which could come from a risk analysis) can help stem the creep.
That being said, I’ll go back to my quilting project and discuss how the project creep was of my own design. I had a deadline and I let outside forces keep me from completing the project on time. I most assuredly understood what the client’s vision was but I allowed my own grandiose ideas to make the project grow larger than the time I had originally allotted for its completion. I should have either dialed back the scale of the project (quilt) or re-negotiated a new delivery date with the client. Since this was not a professional job, but a volunteer job I saw no need to do either. I have learned that it doesn’t matter whether it is personal or professional. My reputation is on the line and I need to treat each project as if I my next assignment depended on it. Because it does.
Clark, T. (2014, April 28). How to Manage Scope Creep—and Even Prevent It From Happening. Retrieved August 6, 2015, from Liquid Planner: http://www.liquidplanner.com/blog/manage-scope-creep-even-prevent-happening/
Project Scope Creep. (n.d.). Retrieved August 8, 2015, from Project Scope Creep: http://www.projectscopecreep.com/