5 Tips for Managing Scope…
Why does a customer change their requirements frequently? Simply because your project scope is fixed for a period of time, yet your customers business is constantly changing. And the bad news is that the longer your project is, the more likely it is that your customer will want to change their requirements. So how do you manage this?
Tip 1: Set it in Concrete
Sounds simple, but the first step is to define the scope of the project in depth. It sounds easy-but what really is the scope of the project?
We define scope as “the complete set of deliverables that you need to produce for your customer”. This means that by defining your project deliverables in depth, you’re actually defining your project scope in depth at the same time!
Tip 2: Plan it Out
When you create your project plan, don’t just list the “activities” that need to be undertaken to complete the project. Instead, group all of the activities in your plan under the relevant deliverables, so that you can see which activities contribute to the completion of each deliverable in your project.
And of course, once each set of activities are finished, you can mark the corresponding deliverable as 100% complete. In this way, you’ll be able to keep an eye on the status of each deliverable and therefore monitor the progress of your project, against the agreed scope.
Tip 3: Monitor Quality
Yes it’s important that you complete all of the deliverables listed in you project plan, however it’s also important that these deliverables meet your customers expectations. These expectations are called “quality targets” and they describe how the deliverables will function or perform.
And to meet these quality targets, you’ll need to put in place “quality controls”, which are checks to ensure that the deliverable is going to “do what it’s supposed to do”. Only then, can you rest assured that the project is going to be signed off by the customer.
Tip 4: Manage Changes
This is possibly the most valuable tip. Every time your customer changes their requirements, make sure that you document their change request and then review the impact of that change, on your project deliverables. If the change is going to impact on your ability to deliver the project on time, within budget and to spec, then get the customer to sign off the change. Then hound them for more money, time or people, or whatever it is that you will need to implement the change effectively.
Tip 5: Report Everything
And lastly, report on any changes that have happened and their effect on the project. This will ensure that if you pass your project deadline, you can show that it was the change requests that caused it. Your customer will be more understanding (as they probably requested the changes in the first place) and your team won’t go into “crises mode” as most teams do when they are officially ‘late’.
So by defining the scope at the outset and setting out your deliverables in your plan, and then monitoring quality and changes, you can manage the scope of your project in a formal, controlled fashion, that’s acceptable to your customer.