Thursday, May 14, 2015

Please change everything

This is a true story. The company name has been changed.


Acme Corporation was doing a large system replacement project with a very tight timeline. The project manager was experienced and understood the importance of clarity in the scope definition. The project scope statement included details of not just in-scope, but also out-of-scope items.

The situation

The decision to implement the new system was made by the company that owned Acme. The Acme employees wanted a system more tailored to their current processes, and didn’t see any benefit to being integrated with their owner’s system.

During the project, the Acme staff repeatedly claimed that the software didn’t fit their processes and would have to be customized to suit them.

The project manager recognized that the project was in danger of falling prey to significant scope expansion.

Analysis and recommendation

The project manager reviewed the requests that the employees made and compared them to the approved scope statement.

Since the project manager had been diligent in determining and documenting what was in and out of scope at the beginning of the project, it wasn’t hard to compare to the employees’ requests. The project charter had been created with and approved by the project sponsor, so the sponsor’s approval of the scope was clear.

The project manager did accommodate small requests that did not affect the time line of the project. However, all other requests were documented for consideration after the go-live date.

Any appeals were referred to the project change control process outlined in the project charter.


Acme’s system replacement finished on time, despite the tight timeline. The project manager achieved this outcome by ensuring a clear understanding of the project scope at the outset, and by managing scope carefully during the project.

This specific case of attempted scope expansion occurred when the company employees were not in favour of the product they were implementing. 

However, scope definition and scope management is needed on all projects, and the analysis of the situation is appropriate for all scope change requests.

Introducing change management might also have been helpful in reducing the number of changes requested by the employees.

Copyright 2015 Debbie Gallagher