Scope creep kills plenty of otherwise healthy projects, but the real culprit is a lack of monitoring and proactive processes to eliminate some of the reasons for scope creep. This article by Suzanne Thornberry lists 4 processes that help prevent project cost overruns, including of course a few ways to deal with the ever-present threat of scope creep.
The first suggestion is to establish scope and features before beginning work. This seems like an “of course” suggestion, but consider how often stakeholders provide only ambiguous direction and demand an immediate start to work only for the project manager and team to find later that the requirements for that project far exceed the original expectation. Establishing a hard rule about what the project is (and what it isn’t) can save money and time as the project progresses.
The second suggestion is to prepare your team. To be specific, you should consider where your team is in regard to skill, desire, and motivation before the project begins. Then, according to CTO of Avnett, Inc., Jon Nelson, you’ll be more prepared to put your best team on the job:
You should also take into account not only the staff’s capabilities, but personalities, desires, and styles during this phase. With those factors in hand, you can then assign teams, determine schedules, and even provide working environments that provide the best potential for success. For example, if some people work best between noon and midnight, try to provide the flexibility to work those hours for optimal productivity. “After all,” Nelson said, “the speed, quality, and value of your project is not a factor of the technology nearly as much as it’s a factor of the technologists.”
Be sure as well to completely investigate a vendor’s capabilities if indeed you’re working with someone outside your team on a project. They can have as much of an effect on the success of a project as your own team does, so making sure that they have good processes in place to address unexpected bumps along the road of project completion is vital.
Finally, keeping diligent about the project’s path is essential. Talk to your team about how the work is going and analyze project budget forecasting and the stakeholder’s understanding of requirements. These factors, among others, can help prevent the cost overruns that would otherwise sink a project.
Read the original article here: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/prevent-project-cost-overruns-with-these-four-essential-processes/1038752