Scope creep is an expansion of the project outside its scope definition. PMI Standards Committee’s guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) outlines project scope definition as:
Scope definition involves subdividing the major project deliverables (as identified in the scope statement) into smaller, more manageable components in order to:
• Improve the accuracy of cost, time, and resource estimates
• Define a baseline for performance measurement and control
• Facilitate clear responsibility assignments
Scope creep can happen due to many reasons and can be one of the leading causes of project failure. According to the guide to PMBOK, the proper scope definition is critical to project success. In most of the project failure cases, scope creep happens due to lack of proper business analysis capabilities and hence improper requirements gathering and project definition. The report The Impact of Business Requirements on the Success of Technology Projects by IAG Consulting presents following key findings:
a) Scenario 1 (68% of companies): project success is ‘Improbable’: Projects might succeed – but not by design. Based on the competencies present, these companies are statistically unlikely to have a successful project. 68% of the companies fit this scenario.
b) Scenario 2 (32% of companies): project success is ‘Probable’: Companies that can expect to have successful projects, by design, due to the investments that they have made in the business requirements process. 32% of the companies fit this scenario.
Organizations recognize that requirements are important to project success, yet 68% did not take effective action on strategic projects. The requirements excellence is missing in most of the companies.
The report also presents a key finding that the companies with poor business analysis capability will have three times as many project failures as successes.
So, if you want to fit in the second scenario, you need to master the art of scope management as well as ‘scope creep’ management, both of which start right at the business requirements stage.
At the same time it is important for a project manager to understand that the ‘scope creep’ is inevitable in any project, even if you fit the 32% category. The best that you can do to avoid ‘scope creep’ creeping in to cause deadline delays and budget overshoots, is to learn how to manage it.
Here are a few strategies that you can adopt to manage ‘scope creep’ in your project:
Capturing Proper Project Scope:
To minimize ‘scope creep‘ in your project, it is best to capture the project’s scope with the least amount of ambiguity. To do so you must:
1. Define the project scope with detailed product description.
2. Develop operational concepts such as how will the product be used, maintained, installed, decommissioned etc.
3. Identify key stakeholders.
4. Develop a product charter vis-à-vis key project drivers such as assumptions, industry constraints, regulations, standards, laws, processes, etc., and get it verified by the key stakeholders.
5. Identify external interfaces such as operating systems, application software etc., over which you have no control but with which your product should be compatible.
Predefine Project Scope Change Control System:
A proper scope change control system must be defined at the beginning of the project. This should include procedures by which the scope may be changed. Some of the procedures could be:
• Documentation for reflecting all approved changes
• Identifying approval levels of stakeholders for authorizing changes
• Integrating with cost and time control system in the overall project scope
• Compliance with contractual provisions
Integrate with Other Control Processes:
Project scope change control system must ensure that the scope creep is integrated with the overall control process. For this the scope changes requested must:
• Reflect in the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) of the overall project
• Be verified and formally accepted by the key stakeholders
• Be documented and circulated to the project team
Project managers must learn the art of scope management and ‘scope creep’ management too, so that it can be implemented right at the beginning of the project. As a project manager it is not important to just demonstrate good leadership skills – it is also important to know the art of scope management, explaining projects to stakeholders, and practicing good communication skills.
What do you think?
Courtesy : http://blog.bootstraptoday.com/2012/06/29/managing-the-scope-creep-in-it-projects/