Scope REALLY Matters

triple-constraints-01There’s a reason that the professional PM courses are so meticulous about the scope of your project. I’ve learned the hard way that either you manage it, or it will manage you. I have come to really appreciate the need for managing change through a change board or incrementally managing it through Agile methodologies.

While on a journey of any sort, when you arrive is one thing – and how much it costs to get there is an other – but where you end up is the biggest kahuna of all –usually.  I am involved with an IT Project on which I let that slip away from me. No question about intentions or plans – that was very clear, and very public.  In the midst of targeting specific deliverables, I had another regulatory firm changing project enter my sphere that I allowed to take my eyes off the original project – for just a short time. When I regrouped, I realized that the urgent and focused deliverables we started with – had been sidelined by well-meaning team members, in favor of escalating another deliverable planned for a later date.

I have now taken corrective action and am relieved that the deliverable I need done first will be delayed only a short time with the added benefit of the next deliverable phase being finished earlier than expected. Not too much harm in this situation. I recognize that it should not have happened in the first place, and that stops at my door. I also recognize that I could find myself working a project where the consequences for allow this to happen could be grave. Here are some of my lessons learned:

  • The size of the project and environment in which your project develops may call for various levels of the PMBOK levels of planning, but you would do well to at least visit each of the 10 main subject areas with some kind of plan. The more extensive the project the more important to do these items in detail.
  • It’s a hard balance, but don’t get so absorbed in “doing work” to help the team, that you neglect (inadvertently or not) the project plan and if you are hitting the milestones you set. I pride myself in “leading” more than managing, which means I work with the troops. However, the PM’s main role can slip, and that’s a problem that will come back to haunt. All that paperwork and documentation serves to prevent the problem I allowed to creep into the mix.
  • Take communication seriously – don’t give up on clarifying – until you know you are clear on what’s going on. I heard it and appreciated it in my training, but now I get it. I am not satisfied with a status quo update. I want to know exactly what is going on with my project – and ask till I am comfortable that I have the facts.

I’m definitely learning a lot in my Project Management Career. Any suggestions or add ons are welcome!

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