Project Scope Management

Scope planning is the process of ensuring that the project includes all the required work to do the project, and only that work. It begins with the project initiation phase in which organizations define what the project supposed to accomplish. During the scope planning process, a project scope statement will be created. During scope definition process, a work break down structure which is a high level breakdown of project deliverables will be created. Then, the real work to create the deliverables required to accomplish the objective of the projects will be developed. During scope verification process, the scope of the work will be verified.

Before discussing the approach to avoid scope creep, let us define scope creep now. Scope creep can be classified into two categories. One is business scope creep and other is technical scope creep. Business scope creep refers to the features that are requested after finalizing the business scope. Technical scope creep means that developing functionalities that are not requested. In summary all unmanageable changes other than “all the required work to do the project, and only that work” after finalizing the scope can be considered as scope creep.

Due to this, more additional tasks might be performed which can result in a project team overrunning its original budget and schedule. This phenomenon can occur due to various reasons, mainly because of ineffective change control process and poor communication between stakeholders. Business scope is generally not considered as a risk provided that it adds more value to the business and customers. But technical scope creep is a risk, generally considered a negative occurrence, and thus, should be avoided.

Now we know what scope creep is, why it happens and how it affects a project. How do we control this? It is a difficult challenge even for most experienced project managers. However, below suggestions would help you to minimize and manage scope creep in your own projects.

Project review meetings: It’s a powerful method of managing scope creep. It gives an opportunity to all key project stakeholders to re-visit the scope of the project frequently. By spending 10 minutes to go thru the scope of the project in those meetings would help you to keep everyone on the same page.

Effective change control process mechanism: Change control process gives managers an invaluable resource, enabling them to check the status of change requests. When a request is raised to change the scope and objectives of the project, normally the change control board is responsible for reviewing, approving, carrying out and controlling changes to the project’s deliverables. Implementing a change control process early and effectively following the process would help you to manage the scope creep.

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