f you ask any project manager what is the worst thing about managing a project, you can guarantee that the vast majority will say ‘scope creep.’ There is nothing worse than feeling like a project is smoothly and that everything is under control, only to be met with numerous change requests, which have come completely out of the blue. Before you know it, you have serious scope creep, which can take hours and hours of a project manager’s time. Keeping that in mind, continue reading for some top tips regarding how to prevent scope creep.
Over-communication can actually be one of the best ways to control scope creep. If you have not communicated with the client effectively throughout the project, and they have an enhancement or change they want to make, they will be adamant to push it through, with little regard for the impact it is going to have on your team. However, if you have kept the individual updated and engaged on the status of the project regularly, he or she will be more receptive to your ideas and they will give you a buy-in. You will find it much easier to ask for a deferment of the change, if that is what you feel is necessary, or to negotiate for whatever it is you will need to implement the enhancement.
Be a dynamic provider
There are two types of service provision. The first is a dynamic provider, which is what you need to be. This is when the service provider workers alongside the client to establish what is required for goals to be achieved. On the other hand, you have passive providers, which is when the client simply tells the service provider what they need to do. You need to be a dynamic provider so that you can collaborate with the client, and so that you have the ability to be critical of their ideas. By building this relationship, you will be able to challenge their suggestions or tweak them, if required. If you have a passive relationship, you will be expected to follow everything they say, which will inevitably cause scope creep.
Know when to say no
This leads on from the former point; you need to know when to say no. Not all scope changes are created equal, and you need to know when a request is unreasonable and thus cannot get the green light. For example, any adjustments to elements regarding the critical path need to be scrutinised carefully and made sparingly. If you cannot say no, other options involve taking something out of the scoop in order to accommodate what is going in, as well as pricing the scope creep.
Last but not least, no matter how many years you have been a project manager, you can always benefit from more project management training. Project management courses will ensure that you are up to date with all of the latest techniques to manage scope. You will learn some new approaches, and some old tactics will be fresh in your brain, leaving you more able to handle any scope issues that come your way.
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