Get it done on time, in scope and in budget

Get it done on time, in scope and in budget

Published on: Category: IT development and operations

The bigger the project, the more likely that time will prove that the original estimates were incorrect. Simply put, a lot of previously unknowns pop up and assumptions are proved invalid.

This is assuming that the scope and assumptions were listed. If they weren’t, stop reading now and consider some training in basic project management.

Dealing with Missers

Anytime a date, budget or deliverable requirement is not going to be met, it results in a “Change in Scope”. There are basically two approaches of dealing with changes in scope, namely:

  • Slap on 30%, call it “all in” and hope for the best. Experience teaches us that the likelihood is that the stakeholders will question you, so you will trim the safety margin in the name of transparency and goodwill, promise the world without being too specific and end up with the bill or with an unhappy customer.
  • Submit “changes in scope” as they arise. The advantage is that it avoids surprises and promotes transparency. OK – so it means, as a project manager, you will have to do a lot more effort, as will all the stakeholders. Fortunately that is exactly what you are hired to do.

Critical Success Factors for dealing with Changes

The best practise approach for dealing with changes is by submitting a Change in Scope. The following factors are critical in dealing successfully with it:

  • Depending on the organisational processes in place and budget constraints, submitting changes can in itself lead to further delays. Intimate knowledge of the agreed processes and good communication with all stakeholders are required to expedite changes in scope.
  • Hire a Project Manager with experience in the subject matter at hand. In theory a project manager only needs to follow processes and communicate. In practise, project managers need to communicate at the same level as the Subject Matter Experts (SME) in order to grasp the complexities and risks, to probe for the required information. The gift of a good PM is to translate and communicate this to the Project Board and all relevant stakeholders.
  • Pay attention. Sounds simple. Surprisingly in our modern era of people who suffer from mobile attachment syndrome, this is proving increasingly difficult. A PM needs to pay attention to discussions that SME’s are having, steer them and get them on track and focus. This is a difficult enough task without the added distraction of answering emails, chats and phone calls during a meeting, not to mention disrespectful.

Dealing with change is a continual process in all projects. Follow my CSF advice and you will be well on the way to a successful project result.

Joanna Schrap
About the author Joanna Schrap

DBA Consultant, Project Manager and Operational Team Manager at Qualogy. Specialties Certified Oracle Database Administrator and Industrial Engineer (business analyst / project management).

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