How to Manage and Minimize Scope Creep on Industrial Automation Projects

How to Manage and Minimize Scope Creep on Industrial Automation Projects

Often when projects don’t go as planned, it is because scope creep has been allowed to come into the equation.

Scope creep is work that's performed in addition to the original defined scope of the project, or on-going changes and modifications to the project without having proper control measures in place. These result in additional costs and extra time in the project schedule that weren't originally accounted for.

There are three steps that should be followed in order to minimize or prevent scope creep on a project.

  1. Ensuring there is a detailed understanding of what the project requirements are
  2. Developing a solid definition of the project scope
  3. Defining and adhering to a change management process during the execution of the project

Understanding Project Requirements

Understanding the project requirements is critical to preventing and managing scope creep, because this is what defines the business needs from the client on the project. This initial stage is where we discuss concerns such as:

  • Operational needs of the facility
  • Specific technologies that we can leverage
  • Budgets and timelines of the project

So, by understanding what the project requirements are, we have a solid foundation going into the definition of the project scope. Even once the design of the project is in progress, managing the scope definition based on the project requirements will prevent additional work from being done that falls outside what is actually needed.

Defining Project Scope

The second step in managing and preventing project scope creep is developing a solid definition of what the project scope is, in other words, what work will be completed and what deliverables will be provided to the client upon completion of the project. This requires working closely with stakeholders to define a clear project scope as early in the process as possible. It is as important to define what will not be included in the scope as it is to define what is included.

Defining a Rigorous Change Management Process

The last step in managing scope creep on a project is defining a solid, rigorous change management process that is adhered to by everyone on the project team. Applying the change management process to each requested change provides three key benefits:

  • We will be able to determine if this is an actual change to the scope or not.
  • We will understand if this change is really needed to meet the project requirements, or if it should be considered out of scope.
  • Documented approval will be required from the client, which means all stakeholders understand and agree to the change.

How Can mCloud Help?

mCloud's experienced Project Managers work very closely with our clients to define the project scope, understand the requirements and success criteria, and agree to a clear and solid change management process. In addition, we take a leadership role in following stringent project management practices in order to ensure that our clients receive the best possible outcomes on their projects.

Contact us to learn how we can help on your next project.


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