Project Management: Scope Creep

Improvements in the management practices

When the project stretches beyond its scope definition then it is said to have developed into a scope creep. The XY Department has to undertake certain specific measures in its future projects to hit the target in the management of resources, costs, and time. The department had initially defined what was needed as replacing the outdated computer systems and implementing some improvements. The costs had been valued at $ 2.3 Million. However, care was not taken when it accepted the approved $ 1.5 Million. Such action would most likely lead to project failure. The success of a project is based on precise project definition. The phase entails proper analysis of the project (Billows, 2012). The XY Department must get the scope of the project without ambiguity. In this case, the department will define in detail the scope of the project and identify the main stakeholders. From the group a team that will comprise the project steering committee will be formed.

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In the case under discussion, the risks were loosely defined. The details were not brought out therefore unanticipated overheads were experienced. Finer details involving the areas to be dropped from the project were not identified when the Federal government only approved $ 1.5 Million for the project. This is what resulted to too much ambiguity. The XY Department should always recruit a project manager for its future projects. The project manager keeps the implementation process focused. When constituting the project steering committee, professional skills and competence should be the qualification benchmark. For instance appointing the Finance Manager to double up as the project manager was wrong. This was one reason the project degenerated into a scope creep. The project should have been divided into phases. This is especially that the funds were limited. Each phase would have specific time line.

The XY Department should in future integrate other control processes to align with the main controls in the department. When Good Programs was contracted to supply software and assist in implementation, minimum supervision was done. The lose grip led to the introduction of new versions of software that were not part of the original definitions (Kerzner, 2000). Members of the steering committee partly contributed to the amorphous way in which the project was managed. The Finance manger undertook his duties in the project as part time because he had other core duties in the department.

In future, any changes requested during project implementation must reflect with the work breakdown structure laid down at first. Such changes include introduction of new versions of the software and the extra $ 185000 both by Good Programs. They had to be verified and formally approved by the department.

Attributes to consider in selecting a project manager

A project manager with overall skills and attributes would have solved the problems that XY Department went through. The CEO should look for a manager with diverse skills and who is rich in knowledge. The skills and knowledge should be specific to the mechanics of project management (Lientz, 2009). The knowledge should cover project management technology, tools and the ability to implement the skills. Lack of the same would mean that the manager might not coordinate and ease a standard project plan. This includes monitoring controls during the implementation process. Possessing the skills also builds confidence from the other team members.

The project manager runs the project through other people, it is therefore necessary for him to have the best interpersonal and behavioral skills. Personal conduct that includes having a positive attitude leads these qualities. Leadership ability, good conflict resolution and communication skills, and trusting others seen through delegating duties among others form part of these skills. The project manager should have technology management skills that cover proficiency in primary technology and support systems. Full knowledge of what happens in the industry is important. This covers such areas as patents, products, and property management laws. Being the professional supervisor of the project, the project manager must be aware of the wide-ranging technical specifications. Other personal behavioral skills to be considered are integrity, honesty, persuasiveness, decisions and accessibility.

Advisory opinion

Scope creep affects many projects. Handling it requires experience and knowledge otherwise; the project may fail, become a career project, or end up being costly to the department in the end. The CEO should thoroughly define future needs of the project. In exploring this definition, he can use different techniques that include joint application development (JAD) sessions (Wysocki, 2009). Good Programs should have involved the steering committee from the time the project began.

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It is advisable that the project should be divided into phases. This will reduce overhead costs. It will also make sure that success is achieved, as every phase will have a specific time line. The CEO should always use fully any information collected during the project scope definition. The risks are analyzed at this stage and therefore the department can prepare for uncertainties. This process will require strict adherence to the list of priority. The CEO should hold regular JAD sessions and consist of the entire steering committee.

References

Billows, D. (2012). Essentials of Business Management. New York: The Hampton Group.

Kerzner, H. (2000). A systems Approach to Planning. New York: Project Management Institute.

Lientz, B. (2009). Project Management. New York: seventh Edition Publishers.

Wysocki, R. (2009) Effective project Management. New York; fifth Edition Publishers.

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