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.

References

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/