Describe a project, either personal or professional, that experienced issues related to scope creep.
In what seems like another life time, I was a librarian and curator for a historical society in NJ and the director of the historical society asked me to put together an exhibit on a local woman who was a woman’s activist. It was for Woman’s history month. I was also tasked to work with a women from the local library who had historical artifacts specifically on this woman.
What specific scope creep issues occurred?
There were several instances where we had scope creep. The purpose of the exhibit was to use the artifacts we had and tell her story and explain the impact she had on the community(Paterson, NJ) during the woman’s rights movement. The project started to suffer from scope creep when the other women wanted to include random artifacts just for the sake of it. We started to lose focus and the narrative started to become to confusing. I tried to explain that while yes, we had a great collection of personal items it was not the scope of the project. One of the major pitfalls of the project was when the director found a table that was supposedly an original table from the woman’s childhood home. However, there were no authentication papers and it was way over priced and out of state. The director was advised not to purchase the table because what was the point of purchasing a table that might have been from her house. Also, if we made the purchase of this table we would be spending half of our project budget and would be unable to make other purchase that were important to making the exhibit look professional. In the end as the director she had the final say and the table was purchased and the exhibit was not as successful.
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?
If I was the project manager I would have done several things differently. Knowing the directors personality and erratic behavior I would have probably hide 20 % of my budget as Dr. Stolovtich had suggested (Laureate Education, n.d.). It would have given us enough cushion to purchase the table and still have the budget to purchase the other items that we needed to make the exhibit a success.
I would have also requested that if anyone involved in the project wanted to implement a change that is outside of our original scope I would request that they fill out a scope change request form. (Laureate Education, n.d.) Dr. Stolovitch explained that this form allows for a formal process and allows people to really consider the impact that this change would have on the overall project( budget, timeline, resources etc). This process would have hopefully allowed the other women to have took a minute to reflect on the true impact their changes would have and hopefully bring them back to reality. Some people might see this as busy work but I think it would have avoided all of the arguments and resentment that followed these scope creep issues. It would also be apart of my formal change control system. Portny et. al., (2008), explains that every project should have a formal change control system pg. 347). This would have allowed me to keep a better eye on the changes that were happening in the project, would have allowed all stakeholders to be informed of the changes in a formal manner and would have allowed us all to be on the same page.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.a). Creating a resource allocation plan [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Monitoring projects [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
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.