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It Project Management

Scope creep – is your enterprise at risk?

Revamping, upgrading or expanding your IT infrastructure is no small thing. IT projects such as cloud computing, software upgrades, or data security systems, are all implemented with the idea to improve your business operations, productivity, and revenue. Investing money and resources into IT projects means an efficient project management process is necessary, to avoid scope creep and delay the benefits of the project change itself. 

Scope creep is one of the biggest obstacles to project completion, and it is often the most difficult to avoid. Fortunately, there are several ways that IT project management services can help keep your efforts on track and prevent scope creep. 

What is scope creep?

First, we need to understand what is meant by scope. A project’s scope is the documented work plan and deliverables. It includes a project’s schedule, specifications, limitations, and key outcomes. Every project’s requirements are the scope. 

When a project’s original scope expands beyond what was agreed upon, this is known as scope creep. There is almost always some degree of change when working on a project, but uncontrolled changes can cause delays and contribute to scope creep. About 50% of all projects result in scope creep, leading to significant delays and budget overruns.

What causes scope creep?

Changes made outside of the original scope can result in lowered productivity, prevent outcomes from being achieved, and increase budgets. The schedule may lengthen as each new change is introduced, and the project can end up being very different from how it was originally envisioned.

Whale adaptability to change is important and agile projects can be beneficial, significant scope creep can create issues. To prevent these issues from occurring, it’s critical to understand the causes:

  • No or vague statement of work that doesn’t define goals and processes
  • Conversations and agreements that are not documented between team members/clients/stakeholders
  • Poor communication among project team, with clients and stakeholders
  • Change control that is not flexible or doesn’t exist
  • Goals are changed or not upheld
  • Adding more changes that haven’t been approved
  • Time frames that are not achievable
  • No project scope statement. 

project scope creep

How to avoid scope creep?

It is crucial to protect your project from getting off track to ensure you accomplish your desired goals. Here are some things you can do at the outset of a project to protect your efforts from being distracted.

Clearly set out requirements

Prior to beginning a project, communicate with project stakeholders to find out what their overall expectations are. If conflicts arise, mediate and reach a unified conclusion before beginning the project. If an agreement cannot be reached, determine whether the issue should be prioritised within the project scope and whether it is important to the overall project. Document everything that you and your team agree on, and use that document as the foundation for project planning and the scope of the project. 

Change control process

When changes are suggested while a project is in progress, there should be a standard procedure for reviewing, approving, and implementing them. This process should identify who in the project team is responsible for each stage and be agreed on before the project begins. 

Scheduling

Your requirements document should be used to organise all project activities, ensuring that all requirements are met and that the project continues smoothly. Keep in mind that the project may evolve over time, and include some wiggle room. 

Open communication

Prior to implementing the project, discuss the finalized schedule and requirements document with all project stakeholders again. This ensures that you can eliminate any misunderstandings and that everyone agrees on a final plan. Make sure your team is on board with the schedule and agrees that the demands are reasonable. If your team members bring up issues, include them in your contingency plan or return to the stakeholders to discuss other options. 

Use project management software

Without advanced software and tools, project management does not operate at maximum efficiency. Your team may exponentially improve its performance by integrating a variety of project resource management tools into your existing project management system. Furthermore, it will allow you to keep track of project status, pinpoint problems, monitor scope creep, and stay ahead of the curve. 

Get expert IT project management services

Major IT projects and digital transformation initiatives can be complex, time-sensitive, and require precision design, planning and execution. The right IT project management services can ensure your project avoids scope creep and is on the road to success from day one. Talk to the expert IT project management team at INTELLIWORX today and scale up your business.

Shane Maher

We passionately work on the IT Infrastructure of mid-tier businesses and support MSPs into cloud services. I have over 17 years of commercial experience that includes supporting and managing IT systems, developing infrastructure solutions, both onsite & in the cloud.

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