Scope creep is the dreadful culprit of lost profits, disheartened resources, missed deadlines, and frustrated clients and stakeholders. When clients ask for one more tiny feature, and then another slight change, and then an extra hour here and there, as every experienced PM knows, it all adds up. The onset of little changes and delays sneakily drains resources, hours, and costs and before you know it, your project is in sad shape. Poor scope management is the downfall of many project managers and can result in the loss of their credibility and even their job.
However, this problem is completely preventable with the right tools and methods of communication. Never let scope creep ruin your project ever again! Here are a few ways to avoid the problem once and forever.
1- Have a scope management plan from the beginning. Show your client or project owner what a change order form is, when and why you would use it, and what it looks like so they know what to expect if you need one.
- Post the change order form in your documents library on WorkEngine or leverage WorkEngine’s out-of-box change request module to track your changes. The fields can be customized to map to your current form if applicable.
2- Explain to the client or project owner that change control is the best way to make THEM successful. Having a paper trail of changes, reasoning, and resulting impacts provides the detailed information they need to explain any delays or changes to their management and external audiences. It also makes sure that everyone is on the same page as far as what is in scope or out of scope so there are no resulting misunderstandings.
3- Talk to your project team about the importance of providing updates and alerting you if there is a problem or if a task is taking longer than expected.
- Team members can update tasks in their view on WorkEngine and write a note to the PM about issues, concerns, time, risk, or scope. The PM will then be alerted of the change and can make decisions about next steps.
4- Get in the habit of submitting a change order form for every request that results in a modification of scope, budget, resources, risk, or time. The form is not just for changes to costs or time. It’s all part of good PM documentation and clear communication.
5- Submit a change order form and discuss any scope modification BEFORE you actually perform that change.
6- Meet with your client or project owner on a weekly or more frequent basis. In this meeting, go over change orders in person and make sure to get an actual signature or written agreement before proceeding with additional work.
- Again, keep track of change orders in the documents library in WorkEngine or use the out-of-box change request module.
7- Update the project plan with each change and add a notes column to record details about why it was needed, the overall impact, and when it was approved. Create baselines and each scope change that affects the schedule should result with a new baseline to track the overall impact.
- Using EPM Live’s Project Publisher, changes made on the WorkEngine project site, can be easily merged back into the Microsoft Project file.
Using these steps will ensure that scope is well-managed and never creeps up on you again. To learn more about the ability to manage tasks, changes, alerts, and integration with Microsoft Project, review the information on EPM Live about WorkEngine, and Project Publisher.