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Scope Creep in Project Management: Understanding Predictive and Adaptive Life Cycles

  • Project Management
  • Agile and Scrum
Created on :
February 2, 2023
Saket Bansal
Updated on :
October 26, 2023
0 Comments
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Scope creep is a common problem in the project management space that occurs when the scope of a project expands beyond what was initially agreed upon with stakeholders. This uncontrolled expansion can lead to increased costs, delays, and dissatisfaction among stakeholders. To avoid scope creep, project managers must have processes in place to control the scope of the project. In this article, we will explore the concept of scope creep and discuss how it is managed in both predictive and adaptive life cycles.

Predictive Life Cycle

In a predictive life cycle, the focus is on converting the requirements into a scope and creating a scope baseline. This scope baseline serves as an approved version for the project team to refer to and ensures that the project team only does the work that is relevant and agreed upon with the stakeholders. If a new idea is presented, the project team must follow an integrated change management process to evaluate its impact on the project. This process involves exploring the impact of the change on the implementation, budget, timeline, future deployment, and overall life cycle cost of the project. If the change produces benefits, it can be incorporated into the project, but if it does not, it should not be included. This integrated change management process helps to prevent uncontrolled expansion of the scope.

Adaptive Life Cycle

In an adaptive life cycle, it is common to believe that the focus is on continuously adding things as the stakeholders request. However, it is important to understand that not all stakeholders have the same priorities and that some may request contradictory requirements. To avoid scope creep in an adaptive life cycle, project managers must have a process in place to prioritize and evaluate changes. This process involves having meetings like a backlog refinement meeting, where all stakeholders who can provide an integrated view of the project are present. During these meetings, changes are discussed, evaluated, and prioritized. This ensures that only changes that are agreed upon and understood by the bigger stakeholder group are included in the project backlog. By having a process for evaluating and prioritizing changes and new requirements, project managers can avoid uncontrolled expansion of the scope and ensure that the priorities of the project remain aligned with the overall goal.

Conclusion

Scope creep is a common problem in project management, but it can be managed effectively by having processes in place to control the scope of the project. In a predictive life cycle, an integrated change management process helps to prevent uncontrolled expansion of the scope, while in an adaptive life cycle, having a process for evaluating and prioritizing changes and requirements helps to ensure that the priorities of the project remain aligned with the overall goal. By following these best practices, project managers can avoid scope creep and ensure that their projects are successful.

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