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How to Keep Your Project from Being a Runaway Train

There are a dozen ways for scope creep to run over your project. Too many requirements, constantly changing requirements, and experimentation with new tools all lead to projects that go off-schedule and off-budget. But fear not, because Harry Hall will be your conductor today, and he always keeps the trains running on time.

Yep, It’s Harry, Not that Old President Guy

A good way to get your project off on the right foot is to recognize that there are two types of scope. Product scope eludes to features and functions in the product or service, whereas project scope refers to the work required to deliver the product or service. Another thing to differentiate between is the different requirements that go into a project. These are of course business, user, and systems requirements respectively. The business needs its high-level goals met, the users want a product or service that makes their lives easier, and the system requirements are “the detailed specifications of the features and conditions needed in the system (e.g., The system shall invoice customers at month-end).”

But whatever you do, make sure to keep stakeholders informed:

Do not make the mistake of waiting until the end of a project to unveil the product, service, or result to your stakeholders. Periodically show the prototypes or deliverables to the customer(s) and the sponsor. When the deliverables are mature, seek formal acceptance. These steps can greatly reduce the risk of rework.

By the way, this mistake occurs more with traditional waterfall projects than agile projects. Whether you take a waterfall or an agile approach, keep your key stakeholders informed.

Hall goes on to remind us that project managers are not supposed to be walls against change; rather, they are here to make sure only the best and most useful changes occur. Change is a good and necessary thing, in proper doses.

For even more insights into how to keep the train running smoothly, you can read the original post here: http://www.pmsouth.com/2014/11/15/how-to-keep-your-project-from-being-a-runaway-train/

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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