Analyzing Scope Creep
Project: Developing and Intervention Team
Let me begin this post by first making it very clear that I am not a professional project manager nor am I a professional instructional designer (yet). In this post, I will be reflecting on a professional project that I was once involved with and, based on what I have learned, what changes I would have made as the project manager to better control the scope of the project.
Scenario: The administrative team of a high school I once worked for charged the entire team of sophomore level teachers to develop and intervention team. We were tasked with developing a plan to help at-risk sophomores become successful. With this charge, the team of sophomore teachers met and began brainstorming. Immediately, this team of 20+ teachers had dozens of ideas and was ready to put their plans into action. The problem was the range of ideas spanned from classroom-based interventions to mandatory lunch tutoring to small group books studies. So, the plan was to move forward with these ideas; somehow incorporating them all into one unified plan. The consensus was to have some common classroom rules that would be consistent across all sophomore classes then; the at-risk students would be required to attend lunch tutoring where they would participate in a small group book study.
What I would have done differently as the project manager: (Insert long sigh) I would first start with clarifying the goals/deliverables of the project by writing SMART goals. The task, as it was presented to the team, is not measurable. I would also get clarification of the descriptives used by the administrative team (the clients in this case). For example, what is meant by “at-risk students” and what would be defined as “successful.” In week one of my course learning videos, Troy Anchong in the video Practitioners Voices: Barriers to project success, explains the importance of clearly defining key terms of a goal. She discussed how ambiguous terms could mean different thing to different stakeholders (Laureate Education, n.d.).
Once the goals and deliverables are clearly defined, the team can focus on interventions that are conducive to producing the goals at hand. Where there were dozens of ideas, to begin with, we can now narrow them down based on empirical and research-based evidence of what works to achieve the needed results. From here, the Statement of Work can be formulated, and that will guide the project forward. As new ideas are presented, we would have a framework to either extend the scope of the project to turn down ideas that do not fit within the scope of this project. As the project was initially set up, there were no grounds for turning down ideas from the various teachers and to not “hurt people’s feelings” there was an attempt to incorporate all ideas that were presented.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Practitioner voices: Barriers to project success [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu