Managing Scope Changes


Biggest reason for overrun of schedule as well as budget is change in agreed scope. It is important to identify them and handle them formally. Even if you want to provide add on services to your customer and you may like to accommodate the changes free of cost, you must make this explicit. Going through formal change control board gives you opportunity to review your budget and schedule and at the same time client also understands that the new changes will be scrutinized before it can be included in the project scope.

There are four categories of scope changes:

  1. Uncontested scope changes – where you as well as client understand that this is change in scope
  2. Contested scope – where customer thinks that it must be part of agreed requirement, while you are thinking other way. This often happens when customer signs the requirement document casually or the requirement document is documented ambiguously. Well, it is your responsibility to ensure that requirement document is as explicit as possible.
  3. Scope Creep – is a change in scope which the customer asks you to do outside the project scope change mechanism. Often this happens when the customer or you team member says this is obvious thing to do and this is trivial and starts accommodating them. Best strategy is that be stringy and if at all you need to accommodate then make sure that your team is willing to put additional effort to get that done without missing the overall schedule of the intermediate milestones.
  4. Constructive Scope – sometimes there will be change of agreement. Say for example client didn’t review deliverable on time or they approved and later they realized that it needs to be changed. In such cases you will have to be judgmental and submit a change scope request for client’s approval.

While scope changes may happen and you must be prepared to handle it, specifically extremely important when you are running fixed cost project, following below practices will often be helpful:

  • Identify the scope changes
  1. From the beginning of the project – keep project member aware of scope and ensure that everyone understand it and accept it
  2. Scope should be visible to everyone in the team through out the project execution
  3. Any change in scope during project execution must be communicated to team at suitable time
  • Scope change justification – check what position you will have to take with respect to the new change and what will be impact of that?
  • Deal with scope changes
  1. Take the changes through your change control mechanism
  2. Scope change must be approved by client before you start work on it

Any project management tool should provide a mechanism to submit change request. Some of the important attributes of change request forms would be

  • The name of the Project Manager who is submitting the request for a given project on a given date
  • The person who requested the new requirement – could be internal team having agreed with the client or directly client asking for new functionality
  • Description for changes
  • Justification for changes
  • Impact on project – specially with respect to other functionality, which might be already developed or designed
  • Impact on schedule
  • Impact on budget
  • Expected delivery date
  • Approval details – for example approved by and approval date

Once you submit the change request form and client approves it, it is important to update your plan and send the updated plan to all the stakeholders. At Walking Tree we have customized EagleRP to provide simple to use project management tool, which allows you to map your project management process easily. If you are looking for a project management tool then you can contact us by visiting our website.

Posted in General
One comment on “Managing Scope Changes
  1. Ayodele Orisanaiye says:

    This is a fantastic write up.

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