Project Management and Scope Creep

A project manager must be prepared and anticipate changes or last minute unexpectancies.  Even an excellent project manager, however, will be dealt with unlikely events or changes during the course of the project design that will often times cause scope creep.  “Project managers have been plagued by scope creep since the dawn of project management. Managing scope creep in project management is a challenging job that needs clearly defined, documented and controlled specifications.Scope creep – also known as feature creep, focus creep, creeping functionality and kitchen-sink syndrome – can sneak up, morph and destroy a project” (University Alliance, N.D.).

I was faced with a challenging project when I coached a Odyessey of the Mind team. The members of the team were seven boys, ages 10 through 12. The boys had chosen their problem for the competition and we had all agreed upon meeting times and commitments. I had factored in costs for the supplies to build the structure in order to practice the problem. Each member of the team had a different responsibility that was important towards solving the problem for the competition. A few weeks before our regional competition, I had a team member who found out he was moving. Due to the rules and regulations of Odyssey of the Mind, if a team member drops out of the team, they are not able to be replaced. This meant we had to go to competition with one less team member and basically restructure our problem. The scope of the problem the team was solving would change and jobs would have to be modified in order for it to work. We had been working together on this problem for almost eight months. I began to scramble for ideas on modifications and realized I would have to spend more money on the project than anticipated and we would need to meet as a team at least three times a week in order to complete the changes to prepare for competition.

I honestly had not anticipated this and was not prepared for the changes that occurred due to losing a team member. I should have been more prepared and anticipated changes such as these in the beginning. “Even when there’s a clearly defined project scope, you still have to beware of scope creep. This phenomenon generally tends to occur when new features are added to product designs that have already been approved, without providing equivalent increases in budget, time and/or resources” (University Alliance, N.D.).