Project Management Systems and Scope Creep
I received a book once with a property management kenwood ca so ugly that I didn’t read it until I was more or less forced. I had been too preoccupied with my other books, covers that had grand mountain scenery or close-up images of time-weathered faces. When I finally read it, though, I couldn’t put the book down. It now sits on the shelf where I put all of my favorites. Since then, I have always kept to the common phrase, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
Some projects are shown in a way that makes them look boring, unproductive, risky, or time-consuming, when, in fact, they produce rewarding results. On the other hand, some projects appears like they will be exciting and profitable when they are far from it. Whatever it is, judging the project by its “cover” isn’t always a good decision. A good project leader can see beyond the representation of a project and see it for its essence.
Today, project management systems are essentially what dictates how the project’s “cover” is drawn. The way it shows status reports, resources, team members, etc, is a large part of seeing what the project is about. An inaccurate display of the project’s components can cause managers to act on false information. It is often the tiniest faulty functions of the management system that causes the most frustration. By trying to be so simple, some systems provide senseless statistics based off of data that is both super-aggregated and / or missing.
Now, I’d like to hone in on a more specific example of project management, namely that of scope creep, in which I will explain how a project management system influences the decisions made in regards to scope creep.
In a forum recently, there was a comment that said, “Scope creep seems inevitable. Our attempt to gather our clients’ requirements early on often seems a futile effort. Scope creep distorts our carefully structured schedules, making project managers weep. How do we address them?” Although this individual did not state anything about a project management system, I would like to point out something in which, to me, raises a red flag: the words “carefully structured schedules.” I wonder exactly what is meant by “carefully.” Having a schedule is necessary, but having a strict hour-to-hour anticipated timeline is a mistake. Again, I don’t know what the author intended with the words, but I think it is safe to say that the structure of a project that works directly with clients is always going to change in some way. But is this scope creep?
When the author states that “scope creep… makes managers weep,” are the managers doing so because they are encountering actual problems? Or are they just perceiving the project to have problems based on how the it is represented in their management system? Say a manager had placed a high priority on meeting a project’s deadline. But, because the quality needed to be better first, the project was late. In some circumstances, the deadline would indeed trump the quality, but if the customer is specific to the quality standards, then some changes (or sacrifices / risks) need to be made. If the customer is not on an exact time constraint, a late project is a change that can be managed. There may be some grumbling, but the customer will be much happier having a quality product or service.