TIPS to Monitor & Control SCOPE
The Scope of a project answers the questions "What" will you actually do, and "Where" will you do it. To Monitor Scope, you will look to see if the right things are being done in the right place. To Control Scope you will make the necessary corrections to get "back on plan" as required. Occasionally you might need to change the plan.
Two common variances to watch for when monitoring Scope are:
Scope Change and
Scope Change: Any change to the approved project scope baseline. Replacing the planned scope with other scope. A scope change almost always requires a change to the approved project time, cost, resources.
Even reducing scope can increase time, cost, or need for resources
Scope Creep: The uncontrolled expansion to project scope without approved adjustments to time, cost, resources. Adding to the planned scope.
Often occur in increments that are too small to notice
The effect "sneaks up" on you
Undermines the integrity of your project plans, leading to dissatisfaction of Stakeholders
One form of scope creep is 'gold plating' where the purchased option is more expensive than the planned one.
How to MONITOR (INSPECT) SCOPE:
1. Scope inspection is always assessed against the approved baseline of work
to be done. Keep this readily available.
2. Make a checklist of special things to check for, using available documents
and resources including:
Past project history files
Thing gone wrong on previous projects
Your project's Risk Register
Consult other experts and Project Managers for ideas of what to look for
Continuously update your checklist so that each project gets easier to
3. Make your own personal inspections. Even if someone on your team is
delegated to inspections, do your own cross check from time to time to time to verify the information you receive.
4. "Look in the Corners". One of my supervisors always seemed to find things I
had overlooked. Finally, I asked him how he did that. He replied, "I look
where other people do not." (Thanks, Larry M!)
5. Keep good notes. Each inspection should be documented so you can make
corrections, or at least keep a watchful eye on anomalies. The field report is
a good tool for this.
6. Have a good filing and retrieval system for field notes. This way you can
quickly access past data to ensure there is no scope change or scope
How to CONTROL (CORRECT) SCOPE:
Why is this important? It will be virtually impossible to complete your project on time and on budget if the scope is allowed to change or creep.
A. Start with a good plan and get Key Stakeholder sign-off agreements in the pl
planning phase. Communicate this clearly and often. Then, when you are
requested to deliver something different (scope change) or more (scope
creep), you can remind them what was agreed.
B. Maintain a current Deficiencies List. This is the ongoing list of items that
should have been done by now, but were omitted or overlooked.
C. Resist the temptation to be the 'nice guy'. Unless authorized, do not change
or add to the Scope of your project. You will put yourself in the unenviable
position of running out of time and money. If pressured to add or change
Scope, obtain your sponsor's or customer's approval for the required time,
money, and other resources to do so.
D. When Scope has already gone "off track," quickly develop an Action Plan to get back on track. Your action plan might include additional time, money or
other resources you will need. If your sponsor or customer agrees to the
new Scope, obtain a sign-off on this addition or change. At this point you are
establishing new baselines and your performance as a Professional Project
Manager should now be evaluated against the revised plans for Scope,
Time, and Cost.
E. Start a new project. At some point the change or addition of scope lands
outside the initial project Business Case or Charter. In these instances, a new
project should be started which will include the new Scope components. It
may be that the original project should be cancelled or closed; or it may be
that the original project continues while the new one is developed.
Deliverables that have passed Quality Control are said to be
"Verified." Then, they go to the customer for acceptance.
Deliverables that have been formally accepted by the customer are said to be
You want to get a sign off from your customer or sponsor for accepted deliverables. This provides you, as Professional Project Manager, with the assurance that the customer has accepted the deliverables as provided. A signed-off Scope validation form is very good protection aganst Scope Creep.
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Scope against Time (Running Total)