“The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits.” Albert Einstein
To be a successful project manager, you must ensure and maintain a clear, accurate and concise scope for the project, regardless of the changes during the life time of the project. That is, include only the required work or specific requirements to fulfill the project goals. Otherwise, some stakeholders may exploit situations where scope is not properly managed and controlled. Usually most people continue certain behaviours as long as they are getting result. Handle each scope change request based on its own merit and demonstrate the implications of the change to the client to aid in making appropriate decisions.
A competent project manager understands (or seeks to understand) the project mandate, goal and expected outcome, and is able to explain them to the project team and other stakeholders. The project mandate is a point of reference to ensure and sustain project team focus. Run-away projects occur due to lack of controllable scope, caused by ‘scope creep’ (i.e. uncontrolled introduction of new request into an active project). Scope creep should be controlled through effective scope change management.
It is very important to include scope change management procedure in the project charter and integrated project plan to remind the client of the importance of respecting the original scope and following due process to effect scope change. This does not have to be an elaborate procedure to ensure its effectiveness; however, it should be clear in terms of the key steps, roles and responsibilities. Emphasizing the importance of scope change management and the implications of disrespecting it should be discussed, as required, with the client and other key stakeholders.
Avoid making significant scope change (or any change, if possible) towards the later part of the project life cycle, to prevent delay to the project completion. The change management workflow is described in Chapter 24 – Monitoring and Controlling. Table 2 includes a reference or link to a scope management document template.