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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 Creep.

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.



     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

  • Lessons Learned

  • 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



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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