Sunday, August 26, 2007

Updating the Project Scope Statement

Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher, once said, "Nothing endures but change." Changes to the elements that make up a project's environment will inevitably occur. Oftentimes, these changes are related to the project scope.

When changes take place that either increase or decrease the project scope, you will have to decide whether or not to update the project scope statement.

How do you know if you should update the project's scope statement to account for changes in a project's environment? You will need to analyze most changes to a project environment in order to determine if they warrant an amendment to the project's scope statement.

An update to the project's scope statement is essential if the change will result in an addition, deletion, or modification to the end product or service specified in the project objective. There are five common sources of change in a project environment.

1. Project specification change
Project specification changes are the most common source of change in a project environment. These types of changes reflect additional capabilities or features that were not included in the original scope specifications, but are considered crucial enough by the client to be included. Because they are at the client's request, project specification changes always require an update to the scope statement.

2. Design change
Design changes occur when a member of the project team identifies a better way to produce or provide the end product or service. Unlike specification changes, design changes do not result in a new feature or capability. They simply offer a way to enhance the product or service.

A design change is implemented only if the entire project team agrees that it will improve the end product or service. If an agreement is reached among the project team members, the design change is submitted for client review. Only upon client approval is the design change updated in the project scope statement.

3. Technological change
Technological changes are another source of change in a project's environment. These changes occur when new types of technology in equipment, material, communication, or expertise become available.

Technological changes are always reflected by advances in technology. These changes have to be updated in the scope statement if the new technology will be implemented in the project. They also require the client's approval.

4. Business cycle change
Business cycle changes occur when circumstances within the business industry change. Announcements by competitors and extreme changes in exchange rates are two sources of business change. These changes need to be updated in the scope statement only if the change has a direct impact on the project's delivery dates.

5. Personnel change
Personnel changes occur when key people involved in the project leave or are added to the project team. As a project progresses, the lead designer may leave, the project manager may be moved to another project, or a key expert may be added to the project.

When these changes occur, the project schedule may be affected. These changes need to be updated in the scope statement only if the person is a direct member of the project team whose presence or absence will have an impact on one of the project's deliverable dates.

Project environments can endure change. Knowing how to identify and analyze the sources of change will help you to update your project scope statement accurately and appropriately.

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