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Author: Elyse, PMP, CPHIMS
October 9, 2009

Have you every had a director of IT say on the night before the live of a new system, we are also going to bring up this module in its vanilla form to see how it works out. Oh the joys of evil vile scope creep! I'll share with you a secret, the goal of a scope change process is not to always immediate scream no from the executive ivory towers. A scope change process is to assure that the risk is worth the rewards when it comes to scope change. So let's talk about how to introduce a scope change process into a chaotic project management culture.

In a chaotic project management culture, the jack of all trades who can do it himself is rewarded, and will look like a cowboy forced to wear a three piece suit when feeling constrained by a scope change management process. Therefore do not introduce a process that constricts and is an obstacle, have it augment efficiency.

There are some common characteristics to a scope change management process.

  • The approval of the change is aligned with the organization's authority to act

  • The sponsor approves the changes, before moving to the next level of authority

  • The change request form clearly asks for the impacts and the benefits

  • Requested Changes have a change number

  • The process is agreed to by the sponsor before the project starts

When starting out, with this new process, I'd recommend the pmo clarifies with the IT leadership what is in and not in a scope management standard. We previously shared a scope management standard which can be used as a starting point for the standard. Also the purpose to a scope management process, has to vet at the decision level necessary the requested changes to project scope. After the IT leadership has agreed it makes sense, start organizing a couple of projects with this in the mix. Open discuss using the process with those project sponsors, and executive sponsors if applicable. The goal here is to gain buyin and suggestions as to a process which will work at your organization.

With a scope change management process your outcomes will be clear, the more time planning a commercial off the shelf implementation, the better the execution, and the lesser degree of scope changes. It will also help to engage the project sponsor.

Further Readings on Taming Chaotic Project Management:

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3 Comments to “Taming Chaotic Project Management - Introduce a Scope Change Management Process”


Another great article. I think it is funny how a supervisor will think of doing something like that all of a sudden. I dont know what they are thinking but it is like they want to test out their staff to see if they are capable of handling the ability to handle a task while also experiencing an issue.

In the military they teach you how to adapt and overcome the obstacles that come along the way. They also prepare you by throwing almost everything they can at you. I think it all depends on what type of supervisor it is and where does their background come from.

Great Points! And perhaps it all depends on the view points, but after months to even years of effort. The focus should be upon the adoption of the system, and if this module was a critical piece. We probably are going to have other problems!

Thanks for sharing!

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