Scope Change Control
Who hasn’t been on a project where scope creep is an issue? One of my pet peeves is when people try to add functionality (or even a bug fix) and don’t realize they need to inform the Project Manager and all prior documentation has to be changed. An engineer may be able to code a fix very quickly, but if he does that has ramifications on documentation, schedule management and quality control (to name a few). When someone tries to pull this, I always draw the infamous triangle of scope, time/cost and resources. If one changes, the others will as well.
One way to formally control this is to implement a formal scope verification process where you require a change to be communicated to the stakeholders’ for formal acceptance of the completed project scope and associated deliverables. Verifying the project scope includes reviewing deliverables to ensure that each is completed satisfactorily. If the project is terminated early, the project scope verification process should establish and document the level and extent of completion.
Scope verification differs from quality control in that scope verification is primarily concerned with acceptance of the deliverables, while quality control is primarily concerned with meeting the quality requirements specified for the deliverables.
Quality control is generally performed before scope verification, but these two processes can be performed in parallel; and when a change occurs (that is accepted) all project team members need to re-examine their project documents and schedule. Any corrective changes go to the project manager and new plans and schedules are produced. Then a process of verifying the scope occurs. The following lists potential outputs from Scope verification:
- Accepted Deliverables: The Scope Verification process documents those completed deliverables that have been accepted. Those completed deliverables that have not been accepted are documented, along with the reasons for non-acceptance. Scope verification includes supporting documentation received from the customer or sponsor and acknowledging stakeholder acceptance of the project’s deliverables.
- Requested Changes; Requested changes may be generated from the Scope Verification process, and are processed for review and disposition through the Integrated Change Control processes.
- Recommended Corrective Actions
For a successful project, the Project Manager is in charge of scope control. Scope control is concerned with influencing the factors that create project scope changes and controlling the impact of those changes. Scope control assures all requested changes and recommended corrective actions are processed through the project Integrated Change Control process. Project scope control is also used to manage the actual changes when they occur and is integrated with the other control processes. Uncontrolled changes are often referred to as project scope creep. Change is inevitable, thereby mandating some type of change control process. The biggest thing to remember is to communicate to all team members and stake holders during this process. It is wise to institute a formal change control system.
A project scope change control system, documented in the project scope management plan, defines the procedures by which the project scope and product scope can be changed. The system includes the documentation, tracking systems, and approval levels necessary for authorizing changes. The scope change control system is integrated with any overall project management information system to control project scope. When the project is managed under a contract, the change control system also complies with all relevant contractual provisions.
Project performance measurements are used to assess the magnitude of variation. Important aspects of project scope control include determining the cause of variance relative to the scope baseline and deciding whether corrective action is required. Earned value management is very helpful here. Approved change requests affecting the project scope can require modifications to the WBS and WBS dictionary, the project scope statement, and the project scope management plan. These approved change requests can cause updates to components of the project management plan.
A formal configuration management system provides procedures for the status of the deliverables, and assures that requested changes to the project scope and product scope are thoroughly considered and documented before being processed through the Integrated Change Control process.
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