Managing Scope Creep

To any seasoned project manager, the thought of implementing the solution as designed is the perfect scenario. However, it is likely that before implementing a new system, a flow of change requests for modifications and enhancements will start pouring in from various sources. This should make the project manager consider carefully the decisions at hand.

There may already be a backlog of changes that were requested, but not incorporated, during the systems development process. Initially, there will be many requests for small improvements and some customization. However, these will be followed by requirements for major changes as the needs of the business change. Inevitably, as a project develops, new requirements and system capabilities are discovered. A well-planned project should be able to take advantage of these, but only if the changes are judged relevant to the core business objectives and they do not increase the risks involved in the project.

I WISH I HAD KNOWN THAT

The following are some guidelines to help project managers during the execution phase.

• Some project methodologies are not the same and may require different development processes.

• Data quality and project consistency can be major stumbling blocks in achieving success.

• Make sure that all the tools are in place for the staff.

• Monitor project costs and time in order to avoid over-runs.

• Keep project meetings on a frequent basis and communicate status to all stakeholders. Often, project managers get so caught up with project issues that they neglect communication issues, which can cause some conflict later on. A project manager who does not communicate effectively could hear, "We were not informed as to the urgency this task, so we left it 'till later," or, "You did not tell us we could do that."

• If you don't have the necessary resources and available time to perform testing on the project, you are lost!

• Early test preparation leads to the resources understanding what to do and uncovers possible problems.

• Ensure the testers stress the limitations of the solution.

• Tests must be planned by the testers and be synchronized with the overall project schedule.

• Ensure that the business requirements and project plan are updated to the stage that the testing begins. Incomplete or outdated documentation delays the testing process!

• Review all testing reports. Verify and discuss with the development team the corrections to be reworked and the impact they could have on the timeline.

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