29 June, 2023

‘Could You Just…’ How to STOP Scope Creep | Video

There are three words that Project Managers fear above all others: ‘Could you just…’ These words mean one thing: someone is trying to squeeze their priorities into your project. And they want to use your budget, your resources, and your precious timeline to do it. There’s a word for this: ‘scope creep’.

It’s dangerous, and you need to put a stop to it!

This video is safe for viewing in the workplace.

In this video, I discuss:

  1. A 2-step Process to Stop Scope Creep
  2. Managing Scope Change the Traditional (Predictive) Way
  3. Managing Scope Change the Agile (Adaptive) Way
This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

Stopping Scope Creep

Scope Creep occurs when people try to stretch the boundary of your scope.

Now, this may happen because they are opportunists, passionate about their own priorities. Or it may happen because they simply want to take advantage of you and your project’s resources, nasty bastards. Or possibly, they don’t understand the rules, and are just plain foolish.

But the reality is that they are most often just a little confused about where the boundary of your scope lies: what is in and what is out. Because that boundary is fuzzy and ill-defined.

So, Step 1 is to…

Define your scope Boundary with Precision

In and out of scope…

When you have done this, step 2 is to:

Get a Formal Sign-off

Take it to your client, sponsor, or boss, for them to confirm your scope statement matches their priorities and expectations.

Now when someone comes to you and says…

‘Could you just…’

Now you can show them the authorized statement of scope.

But sometimes we need to accommodate changes to scope…

Managing Scope Change the Traditional (Predictive) Way

For traditional, predictive projects, the way we manage changes to the scope is with Change Control.

We have a whole video on How to Manage the Change Control Process.

But, in essence, this is about evaluating the case for every change, by understanding the drivers and the benefits on the one hand, and the costs, resources, schedule implications, and risks, on the other. And, critically, to get formal sign-off from the person or people who have the right level of authority.

But, what do we do in Agile projects?

Managing Scope Change the Agile (Adaptive) Way

Most agile methodologies and frameworks manage incremental changes in scope with a backlog.

Again, we have a video that answers the question, ‘What is a Product Backlog and I’ll put a link in the description.

But, the basic idea of a Backlog is simple…

A Backlog is a list (usually structured by priority) of all of the user requirements. When we plan a period of work – usually called an iteration or sprint – we draw down a number of elements from this backlog.

At any time, or at specific times, depending on the methodology, we can add ideas to the backlog. And, periodically, the team will re-assess the backlog for new ideas, overlaps, and redundant ideas. This process is called ‘backlog grooming’.

In this way, adaptive projects build scope change into the process from the outset.

Carefully curated video recommendations for you:

What Kit does a Project Manager Need?

I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own. 

Check out the Kit a Project Manager needs

Note that the links are affiliated.

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Mike Clayton

About the Author...

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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