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Scope Creep – The bane of projects September 8, 2008

Posted by Darth Sidious in Project Management.

Whether it be software development, mechanical engineering, or construction… scope creep is a project manager’s kryptonite (btw the Empire has a sale on kryptonite if you need to take care of any of those do-gooders from the planet Krypton).

Earth’s United States military program requires extreme levels of planning and scoping, every nut and bolt is accounted for in their project plans. Yet… even that isn’t enough to control scope creep. E.g.:

  • Virginia Class attack submarine.
    • Scoped: $57 400 000 000 over 11 yrs
    • Actual:$81 300 000 000 (ya, that’s 81 billion)
  • MQ-9 Reaper (unmanned aircraft drone)
    • Scoped: $690M over 3 yrs
    • Actual: $2.2B
  • V-22 Osprey (vertical take off plane)
    • Scoped at $38B over 20 yrs
    • Actual: $54B

Although we’ve recommended many ideas, one idea is to implement continual measurement. For example, when engaging in a project at the start, keep constant track of estimated vs. actual target dates and costs – and you need to have a plan in place where if a threshold is crossed management decides to cut their losses and can the project.



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