Project managers deal with a wide range of challenges in their day-to-day efforts to complete projects on time to the level of quality required. Although some of these challenges come out of the blue, others just come with the territory, such as scope creep. Project managers must take this into account when planning their project strategies. Luckily, there are lots of tools that be used to help. In this blog, we explain how to prevent scope creep disaster using resource management software.
What is scope creep?
Scope creep (also known as ‘requirement creep’) can happen to any project. In fact, it normally does to some extent. It refers to the uncontrolled growth in project scope after the project has begun, usually caused by stakeholders adding requirements that had not originally been agreed upon. These might be needed for various reasons, from changes in customer demands or to make up for earlier miscommunication. The effects of scope creep can be problematic, and not just towards a project manager’s peace of mind. It can:
- Waste money
- Use up resources
- Tire out your people
- Lead to unhappy customers
However, project managers should expect some level of scope creep on all projects and plan accordingly. So, let’s look at how to prevent scope creep problems using resource management software.
How to prevent scope creep disaster
The most common causes of scope creep are:
- Not fully defining the scope of the project to begin with
- A lack of formal documentation of requirements
- No formal means to manage scope or requirements
- A lack of communication with stakeholders
- Changes to the project length
- Changes to customer needs
In many cases, these can be hard to avoid, as many are out of the project managers hands. Yet there are three essential ways to prepare for scope creep. Resource management software can give you the tools you need to improve planning, improve communication, and to react quickly and effectively to the unexpected.
Project managers should always aim to plan ahead for scope creep. When allocating resources for a portfolio of projects, you must consider scope creep to be a possibility and plan accordingly.
How resource management software can helpAbove all, to successfully optimize resources so that you are prepared for scope creep, you need tools that offer 100% resource visibility. Heatmaps and coolmaps can highlight where there is room for movement in your resource allocation. Another way to prepare for scope creep is to use forecasting tools such as what-if analysis to see what would happen if requirements were to suddenly change. This way you can test different scenarios in a risk-free environment before going ahead with changes. This is the only way to fully optimize resource allocation, letting you balance your resources across your portfolio of projects so that you have back-ups in reserve if required.
Before a project starts, requirements need to be set out, defined, agreed upon, signed off, and communicated clearly and definitively between all stakeholders, including the project manager. What is needed is an easy way for everyone to know what the requirements are at the outset – this way at least everyone is starting out on the same page and issues brought about by miscommunication are avoided as much as possible.
How resource management software can helpPart of the problem is a lack of tools to visualize the resources within project plans, requirements, etc. Traditionally these have been set out in Excel spreadsheets making it almost incomprehensible for the causal observer to figure out what has been agreed on. Resource management tools can offer easy-to-use reports and visualizations of all resource data and project plans. What’s more, these can be shared with all stakeholders involved – no excuses for not having the plan set in stone beforehand.
The tools to react to the unexpected
As we have mentioned, in most cases scope creep is out of the project managers control. It’s therefore important to have the correct tools at hand so you can react when the requirements change, and the scope of the project begins to spiral out of control.
How resource management software can helpReal-time reporting, modelling, and forecasting can offer project managers the ability to deal with change quickly and effectively. Time is always of the essence in project management. If requirements have changed, you need to find a solution that works as quickly as possible to make sure the project goals are still achievable. You need to be able to move resources around and figure out how to optimize resource allocation to cope with the new requirements. What-if analysis is the holy grail of project management tools for achieving this.
Tempus Resource can help
Modern resource management software like Tempus Resource can help project managers deal with all the vagaries of modern-day project management. Whether your resources number 10 or 100,000, Tempus Resource can help you optimize resource management and deal with project management challenges like scope creep.
Tempus Resource features include:
- Quick and easy to add or import data
- Real-time modelling allows for 100% resource visibility
- Forecasting and what-if analysis let you test scenarios risk-free
- Real-time reporting for all stakeholders
- Integrates with all major project portfolio management (PPM) solutions
To find out more about how to prevent scope creep or other common project management challenges using Tempus Resource, get in touch with us at ProSymmetry today.