Thwart scope creep before it can begin

When you’re on a diet, you can have the best intentions in the world. But if you end up at an all-you-can eat buffet, those good intentions can quickly disappear.

IT projects, it turns out, are not that different. To prevent scope creep, you need to know what’s on the menu and what’s not – and stick to it. Scope creep – the addition of new features to an already approved features list – can happen to any IT project, large or small. But most projects that suffer from scope creep tend to have one thing in common: poorly defined business objectives.

Scope creep is almost entirely predictable before a project begins, says Barry Levine, a principal at consultancy RSM Richter Consulting Group. “Management has to have clearly articulated objectives so they understand what they will and will not get out of a software solution. That has to be nailed down before a single implementation, and probably even before the software selection phase.”

Scope creep can also occur when a project’s objectives are defined at too high a level, says Tracey MacArthur, director, project management and community care information management, shared information management services at the University Health Network. “For example, if we indicated we wanted to implement a system to decrease the time it takes to refer a patient from one organization to another

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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