Managing Scope Deviations

So you©ve got this approved project plan, and you and your team are steadfastly working away at it. You're maybe 25 to 30 percent into the project. One day a customer shows up at the project office and announces that you have to change a specific component of the project, and you have to do it right away. Unfortunately, the component they want changed happens to be one you've already worked on and that you have in the bag. So what's a PM to do?

First, we should point out that the project plan has already been approved. Prior to project plan approval, within limits, the plan is up for grabs. You'll write your plan closely to the requirements you've specified, but there's room for some give when you're in the throes of writing it. However, after the plan is approved, it shouldn't change without very good reasons.

You should identify whether the change represents one of three kinds of changes:

Pesign

Some

task

or

activit

y of

the

projec

t

needs

to be

altere

d.

Schedule

Some

or all

of the

projec

t' s

deadli

nes

chang

e.

Cost

The

budge

t for

the

projec

t has

to be

modifi

ed.

Dortunately, many PMs have gone before you in such scenarios, and as a result, you have a fairly logical set of steps that you can follow to manage the change. You should recognize that any change represents a deviation in scope. Because of this, you must do some work to figure out how drastic the scope deviation is, so that you know whether to escalate the news to stakeholders and sponsors, rewrite the scope, and obtain a new sign-off. In line with the exam objective here, I' l l refer to the change as the scope deviation from here forward.

A deviation is presented to you. Regardless of the size you might deem the deviation to be at first, it' s incumbent on you to take a hard look at it. Petermine the size of the deviation, in terms of cost and resources; determine the impact of the deviation on the project (will it require a scope change document?); and then make the deviation known to the sponsor and stakeholders.

In larger projects, you ' l l have a change-control committee that handles all scope changes. Typically the sponsor sits on this committee, as well as some, but probably not all, stakeholders. In smaller projects, the sponsor and stakeholders will jointly approve or deny the deviation.

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