Scope Control

Avoiding Too Many Changes in Projects

Controlling which project changes you accept.

© iStockphoto

Have you ever been on a project that seemed to develop a life of its own. Suddenly, instead of one key objective, you had to take care of three secondary objectives before you could get back on track – and then you couldn't finish on time?

Let's look at a home repair example. You want to replace your kitchen countertop. But then you think the back tiling could be updated and replaced too. And you certainly can't replace the countertop without a new sink and faucet. Oh no – the sink you want doesn't fit into the old space. OK, you'll just move the plumbing pipes, right?!

Before you know it, you've torn apart your whole kitchen, and you're waiting for new cabinets, appliances, and flooring. You're trying to figure out how you'll live in a house with no kitchen for the next six weeks, and you don't know how you'll pay for all these little extras and upgrades that seemed like a good idea at the time.

Have you ever experienced this with a business project?

Projects can quickly grow beyond their initial boundaries if you don't carefully control changes to them. It's called "scope creep" – new objectives and needs "sneak up" on you with no warning. This can lead to the following:

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