Do not feed the scope monster

Warning: Do not feed the scope monster!

In Process Improvement by Hannah Lincoln

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Sales, Marketing, Finance…

The scope monster gobbles up processes and projects like a child munching on strawberry laces

Slurp, slurp…

Are you guilty of feeding the scope monster?

One of the biggest causes of BPI (business improvement improvement) project failure is scope creep. Every business analyst and project manager out there will tell you this. It is so incredibly tempting to think, well we might as well do this at the same time…what’s the harm?


Do not feed the scope monster

He will grow and grow and you will never be able to contain him

3 top tips for caging the scope monster

1) Do an initial diagnosis BEFORE starting your project

This gives you and your team a quick idea of where you should focus on streamlining. There is absolutely no point in spending hours process mapping where it isn’t needed. This should take no more than a couple of hours to do MAX. Use this to define exactly what the scope of your process improvement project is.

The initial diagnosis should be done prior to any project plan or process analysis is done. For more information on how to do an initial diagnosis then please download The Getting Started Guide: Streamlining your Processes

2) Define and Sign off your project scope

A project scope defines the understanding of what exactly this project is supposed to cover and most importantly – its limits! Make sure that you are specific in your project scope.

“Reviewing our sales process” isn’t exactly specific and you can imagine the different processes that could be combined under this single heading. Even some finance processes could be expanded into this!

A much better definition would be

“The purpose of this project is to review the efficiencies that can be achieved within the Quoting Process. The process starts from Initial Enquiry through to the Order being placed on the system.”

See this great whitepaper on defining a project scope from project perfect

Free the getting started guide streamlining your processes

After doing your scope, it must be signed off by the project team involved. This should reduce any change requests later on in the project, they can’t say they haven’t been informed!

3) Insist on a Request for Change procedure

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to change the scope without due consideration of the implications and the need to do so. By implementing a request for change procedure, this formalises the process of assessing the requirement to change the scope and ensures that scope creep doesn’t occur. Make people aware of this procedure BEFORE you start the process, it will make them more

A good change request procedure has the following:

–  A change request form asking for not only the details of the change but also the reasons why AND the implications/impact on the project
–  A change request committee that need to sign off on ANY scope changes
–  Communication to the rest of the project team informing them of the scope change

Here is a great blog on the change request procedure from Izenbridge

Other good articles on Scope Creep include:

Battle Scope Creep in Your Projects

Scope Creep-A Lethal Project Disease Thoughts on Prevention and Cure

What other tips do you have for resisting scope creep?

We would love to hear your thoughts? Please comment below with your hints and tips on scope creep!

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