Scope shifts occur when stakeholders add deliverables or push deadlines. This can slow project progress and lower team morale. However, climbing the range can be avoided. This article explains how range drift occurs and what you can do to prevent it. Every project dreads scope creep, which can cost money, reduce satisfaction, and result in a project’s value not being as high as intended. Most initiatives experience scope creep, continually irritating project teams, and stakeholders.
Why does scope creep occur?
Project scope creep can happen in a variety of ways. Sponsor-level executives typically don’t want to be involved in every choice. Project teams, therefore, create them. Again, some change requests are or seem to be minor, so project teams respond to them without first going through a formal change management procedure. A rigid or time-consuming change control mechanism may also cause unauthorized scope expansions.
The project team may want to go beyond requirements and provide “additional value” by including optional functionality for various reasons. When requests for extra capabilities are made and the scope increases, IT managers frequently fail to bargain for more time and money.
1. No project content
This may be obvious, but it needs to be repeated. Without knowing the project’s scope, there is no clear way to organize and communicate the work to all participants. Also, if you’re working with an external team or agency, there’s no documentation (such as work reports or work breakdown structures (WBS) to show that stakeholders are involved. Try adding a new item to your project.
When you start a project, you need to create and scope it. Consider adding it to your project plan or other preliminary documentation. In this way, you have a foundation for your project’s content built on all of your project’s source documents.
2. Bad connection
Once the scope of the project is determined, it should be published. Stakeholders cannot provide early feedback if documentation is not effectively distributed early in the project. The project scope must be included in the original project documentation, such as a project or project plan. This way, everyone can access the project scope statement, and any discrepancies can be corrected before the project starts.
3. Purpose of the project unclear
Ultimately, you’re working on this project because you’re aiming to deliver something specific — those accomplishments and strengths are the goals of your project. When you have clear project goals, your project team has a simple overview of what tasks contributed or did not to the project’s ultimate success. This way, you can focus your efforts and energy on prioritized and productive work.
Four ways to avoid scope creep and keep your project on track
1. Know your project’s goals from the start.
Kill range creeps starting with your SOW. Yes, the team still needs to keep the project on track, but that can’t be done without understanding what the project is about, what the deadlines are, who’s responsible for what, and what the deliverables will look like. The same goes for your entire project scope. Each team member should understand how each task relates to the whole and how any last-minute changes can be distracting or counterproductive.
SOW alone will not always provide perfect protection against range escalation. But it is essential to be aware of when range slippage is occurring so that you can stop it.
2. Take your requirements to document seriously.
One of the greatest skills in project management is the ability to identify requirements accurately. This means you can clearly define schedules, budgets, and expectations for your team, business, and stakeholders. It can be nice to discuss these requirements, but they must be properly documented to avoid scaling up. Here are some tools you can use to shape the needs of your project.
First, the software provides an easy way to document and share your project requirements, workflow, or knowledge with the world. Structure your content, then document all your needs for your project using text formatting, links, attachments, archives, and more that your team may need.
Then ensure your product backlog is properly prepared and all user stories are current and relevant. A user story is a simple description of a feature offered from the user’s and customer’s point of view.
3. Set a clear schedule and stick to it.
Time and task management are critical to keeping your project on track. However, it’s easy to waste time on a task if you don’t break it down into parts and plan it out clearly.
We discussed the importance of task management and ensuring each task is clearly defined, prioritized, and assigned. But that’s only part of the battle. One of the easiest ways to do this is to have daily fights or stand-up meetings.
4. Create a change control process.
All of this advice so far has talked about avoiding range drift, but it would be naive to think you have to risk it. Changes are recommended.
This is the process of finding out how someone (a client, team member, or stakeholder) proposes a change. It should include a description, expected benefits, and an action plan. Summarize his influence. It would help if you then summarized the overall impact of these changes, including cost savings or benefits, impact on schedules, new risks, and impact on other projects.
How to fix scope creep?
What should you do now that you’ve started a project and are concerned about scope creep? There are a few things you can do if scope creep is about to start:
- Revisit the project’s scope. Remind stakeholders of the project scope and what was — and wasn’t — included in it if they are pressing for new deliverables. That should assist the entire project team in realigning the project’s requirements.
- Try a change control process if that fails. Request that the requestor submit their requests using the change control procedure you have established. After discussing these requests with your project stakeholders, evaluate whether it is necessary to change the scope of your project.
- If the scope adjustments are approved, you might want to give another delivery less priority. Can anything be put off or eliminated to make way for this new project?
- If there isn’t a method to deprioritize any planned work right now, look at your project’s resources. Use your resource management plan to determine which resources can assist you in achieving your project’s goals.
Now is the time for decision-makers on the project to decide whether to accept the change, accept it with special terms, reject it, or defer it for later consideration. Change Once approved, it is time to plan, schedule, and create a schedule for adding the change to the project area. Close the changes. Finally, when the change is complete, you should close the issue and move on to the next one in the past.
Payoda can help you achieve and maintain clarity on your project’s scope, goals, and plan. Talk to our experts today for a non-obligatory call.
Authored by: Arunraj Jagadeesan