5 Ways to Manage Project Scope Slippage and Avoid Chaos

by nDemand Consulting Services | Oct 9, 2020

Project managers have a job that may sound easy in writing. What could be so difficult with overseeing a project? Then you walk into the meeting and find several people with completely different ideas. Something that started as a simple concept can quickly spiral out of control, and nothing gets done on time. Project managers in the public sector must have the ability to create a scope and then prevent chaos from throwing it off schedule, especially if changes are required.

What Is Scope Slippage?
Scope slippage occurs when changes begin to overshadow the original goal of the project. This is an extremely dangerous area to wander into because it can affect your budget and hurt the project. When government project managers create a scope, they need to determine a set outline that covers what work needs to be done and by whom. This outline should be broken into milestones and set objectives for each section.

Prevention Step 1 – Determine Project Goals
The first step in preventing scope slippage is to determine the goals of the project. When beginning a new project, your first meeting should be spent discussing the end vision. At this meeting, clearly define what the desired timeline will be as well as the exact job descriptions. It’s also good to have some safeguards in for snags you may run into.

Prevention Step 2 – Document Everything
One of the biggest causes of scope slippage is from lack of communication. Project managers should have files for each project that include workflows, requirements, and any resources the team will require. This documentation, all in one location, is ideal when clients or stakeholders come and ask for updates. Also, it allows for people to give feedback on an area without creating a stop on the entire project.

Prevention Step 3 – Use Technology
One of the blessings of living in the age of technology is that we now have software to assist in project management. There is different project management software available, so you’ll want to find an application that works for you. Ideal programs will include boards to show what sections are currently being worked on, what is waiting on review, what still needs to be completed, and what has been approved. The project manager can assign specific people to the tasks and reassign projects if someone is becoming overwhelmed.

Prevention Step 4 – Failsafe Protocols
Scope slippage is likely to happen with any project, but good managers will have failsafe protocols to keep it from creating overall chaos. These protocols will tell the team how a change will be handled. Fresh ideas during a project are not always bad things, so allow people to voice their opinions. However, when the idea is presented, address it fully. Before changing course, make sure you understand how it will affect the project overall, such as additional time, money, or benefit to the end result.

Prevention Step 5 – Create Clear Schedules
Proper time management is necessary for every project, but this is only possible when you have a clear schedule. Each time you create a timeline, define priority projects and use meetings to have assigned employees check in with their progress. When using set schedules, you can also determine which aspects of a project need to be scrapped to meet deadlines.

Scope slippage destroys projects, but it can also hurt a company’s reputation. It is vital to manage the scope and keep everyone on track. However, the biggest benefit of preventing slippage is keeping team members working together.

Contact us at P&J WoodWorks, LLC, to have us oversee your project so that you avoid scope slippage.
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