Poor Scope Change Management Can Sink Your Project

Sunday, November 25, 2018, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

Managing scope is one of the most critical aspects of managing a project. However, if you have not done a good job of defining scope, managing scope will be almost impossible.

Defining scope means that you have articulated the project boundaries and deliverables, and the product requirements. These should all be approved by your sponsor.

Once the scope baseline is defined and approved, there is nothing wrong with changing scope – as long as the change is managed. If you cannot accommodate change, the final solution may be less valuable than it should be, or it may, in fact, be unusable.

Every project should have a process in place to manage change effectively. The process should include identifying the change, determining the business value of the change, estimating the impact on the project and then taking the resulting information to the project sponsor for their evaluation.

The sponsor can make a business decision on whether the change should be approved after evaluating the benefits and the impact to the project. If the sponsor approves the change, the project baselines are updated to accommodate the scope change.

The most common problems with scope change management are:

  • Not having the baseline scope approved, which makes it difficult to apply scope change management.

  • Defining the scope to high-level, which makes it difficult to whether the scope intent has changed.

  • Not recognizing that a scope change has occurred.

  • Not having a formal, agreed upon process for managing scope.

  • Not managing small scope changes leaving yourself open to “scope creep”.

  • Not documenting all changes – even small ones.

  • Having the project manager make scope change decisions instead of the sponsor.

If you find that your project is starting to trend over its budget and schedule, try to find the cause. In many cases you will find that you are simply taking on more work than you originally agreed to. If you do not have a good scope change process in place, it is never too late to start.

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This column is © copyright to www.Method123.com and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

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