In the previous post of project scope management we looked at how project scope is defined. In this post, lets see importance of project scope verification and how to manage changes in project scope.
Even though you may define project scope, it is critical to verify it. The objective of project scope is to ensure all components as specified in work-breakdown-structure (WBS), identified resources, delivery timeline, quality levels are aligning with the objective of the project and in turn aligning with the goals of the organization and project scope verification is a good mechanism to ensure that.
You can identify internal (team members/SME) as well as external stakeholder (project sponsor, customer) to perform scope verification. You can facilitate meetings to verify scope. You will realize that project scope definition, planning and verification are also interdependent processes. If you organization has a good mix of these processes ensure lesser scope creep.
Even though your organization may have well defined policies and practices to define project scope, it does not stop from changing scope of a project. The change in scope is unavoidable in most of the circumstances. However scope change is different from scope creep. Scope creep is unauthorized, informal changes to the project scope. It simply means that project scope is being changed without making any provision for additional resources, budget or timeline.
So there is definite need to monitor scope change and control it. These processes can be facilitated by change control mechanism. If during the course of project execution, if stakeholder/sponsor wish to add new element in project scope e.g. new feature, new service request type; the request should be managed through a formal channel. This formal channel ensures all relevent project stakeholders are aware of the proposed change, which can be evaluated further to identify impact(s) and desired addition of resources, timeline, quality, or budget.
Of course, one can optimize the change control process by introducing levels of approvals, escalations, etc. You would agree, generally scope change impacts the cost/budget. Hence it is prudent to involve customers, project sponsors, and team members as appropriate to understand and agree on scope change.
Most of us are aware of the statistics that I shared in the beginning of this article. In the survey conducted, project failure rates reported are significantly high. One of the critical contributors for failure has been scope change. If managed effectively, the chances of making a project successful are much higher. So for best results
You may also find useful to read more about project scope control and management article at brighthubpm, the wikipedia article, defining project scope (pdf), project scope planning guide (pdf by CDC.gov).