Thursday, October 13, 2011
This week our blog topic is the ever-scary topic of scope creep, here’s our blog assignment:
Describe a project, either personal or professional, that experienced issues related to scope creep. What specific scope creep issues occurred? How did you or other stakeholders deal with those issues at the time? Looking back on the experience now, had you been in the position of managing the project, what could you have done to better manage these issues and control the scope of the project?
So let’s first start with the question, “what IS scope creep?”
According to our required text, scope creep is “the natural tendency of the client, as well as project team members, to try to improve the project’s output as the project progresses” (Portny, et al., 2008, p. 350). Another definition that truly hits the nail on the head so to speak is, “the tendency of a project to include more tasks or to implement more systems than originally specified, which often leads to higher than planned project costs and an extension of the initial implementation date” (What is scope creep, 2007).
In my previous position we took part in a deployment of a case management system that was implemented enterprise-wide. This deployment was a high-profile effort and everyone on my team was expected to travel to support the deployment effort. In the end our team was responsible for training the application, supporting that application (providing field support, as well as support via phone/email), providing support documentation, designing/developing/implementing another training module to later replace the in-person training. What is interesting is our contract did not originally include all of these provisions esp. with a staff of only 8 people (most of which were on the road).
These issues, and the many that arose as a result, were almost always dealt with in a defensive and reactive (vs. proactive) manner. It seemed we were always reacting to a new development, and/or a new client request that simply came out of nowhere.
In the government contacting realm this is always precarious territory as a contractor never wants to tell the client “no”. This could possibly result in the client seeking a contract with another organization, and no company wants to lose business (i.e. revenue).
Looking back, I feel a lack of documentation was one important area that could have been done better. Meaning, many of our processes were undocumented including change requests. Without documentation it is difficult to see what is in existence, what is being requested, what has been changed, and the results of the requested change. From a project management stand point our organization left themselves very open for later problems to arise.
In an article entitled, “10 Ways to Tackle The Scope Creep”, Miles Burke provides important ways to avoid scope creep:
Burke, M. (2010, November 26). 10 Ways to Tackle the Scope Creep » SitePoint. SitePoint » Web Design, Web Development, Freelancing, Tech News and more. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from http://www.sitepoint.com/10-ways-tackle-the-scope-creep/
Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
What is Scope Creep?. (2007, October 10). FollowSteph.com . Retrieved October 13, 2011, from http://www.followsteph.com/2007/10/10/what-is-scope-creep/
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
We have made it to week 5 already of our project management course! I can’t believe we’ve already made it this far and are almost finished. It has definitely been interesting and I have gained a lot of great information.
This week we have freebie assignment:
To prepare for this assignment, conduct a web search (listservs, message boards, blogs) and locate at least two resources that would be useful in estimating the costs, effort, and/or activity durations associated with ID projects. Explore the sites and consider how you might use them to help plan a project’s schedule, budget, or break down a project’s tasks.
Here are the websites I found that hopefully will be of some assistance:
The title pretty much says it all! This website has a plethora of information ranging from training cost guidelines, to estimating development hours, and development time for e-learning modules. This is a great place to look in determining how many hours it may actually take to develop the specified item.
It also provides great low-cost resources designers can utilize to help keep costs down.
Similar to the above resource, it provides cost breakdown for faculty developming distance learning (web courses)
What I like most about this article is its honest perspective in determining how much time a given activity takes, using something called the “fudge ratio”. Of course this seems completely inapplicable but it can be applied in an instructional design team.
It would require the project manager to be proactive and track how long basic processes of the ADDIE model actually take to be completed within the team and then use this as the basis for future estimates. By no means is this a fool-proof method, but it is a place to at least start…