Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Attack of the Never Ending Project

By John Yancey

Projects at work seem to magically appear and at a volume that almost certainly means that one of these projects will fall into your lap sooner rather than later. Now these projects can take many forms along the continuum, but collectively they share one specific challenge that can derail any project and is well worth exploring in more detail.

One of the first decisions that must be made before this journey can even begin is scope.  
  • Who are the stakeholders associated with this project and what roles do they need to play to make the project successful?  
  • What materials will you need to complete the project and how much will all of this cost? 
  • How long will the project take and what are the deliverables that we are required to produce. 
Answering these questions up front can go a long ways towards ensuring that you project gets off to a good start.

But then it happens.  Someone at some point utters the words that are potentially kryptonite to any successful project: “What if we just ...  And it begins, scope creep. 

Once you have taken the time to create a detailed project plan, deviations from that plan need to be considered carefully as they can have a very significant impact. Seemingly small changes can dramatically change project costs, required team members, and the overall project timeline. Now, this does not mean that every change has a negative impact on your project. That simply is not the case. Still, you need to do you due diligence as you exam proposed changes to see how they impact your project and if they are worth taking on. Many times, the best course of action is the stay the course and complete you project as these mid-project changes can be reformatted to be their own new project somewhere down the line. 

In the end, project management is a complete mix of challenges of which scope creep is but a singular player.  The University of North Florida Division of Continuing Education has the tools necessary to help ensure that your next project is a success and more importantly, that you are a success in leading that project.  See all that we have to offer at www.unf.edu/ce