Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ensuring that Scope Changes Are Properly Implemented

Do you find it easier to manage a huge task by organizing it into smaller tasks? Project managers manage a huge task—the project—by organizing it into activities using a work breakdown structure (WBS).

The WBS is a framework that defines the scope of the entire project; work not in the WBS is outside the scope of the project. The approved WBS represents all of the work packages and activities that must be completed in order to finish a project.

To effectively control scope change throughout your project, you have to review the approved WBS. By reviewing the approved WBS, you ensure that the change will be properly implemented. At this review stage of the project, you should be looking at the activities and any resulting changes and impacts.
  • the activities - The first thing to review is the activity level of the WBS to ensure that all activities resulting from the change have been included so that the corresponding deliverable can be met. A forgotten activity can result in a missed deliverable or non-acceptance by the client, so this is a very important step.
  • any resulting changes and impacts - The project manager must also review the WBS to ensure that the resulting changes to the activities and their impacts on the schedule and budget have been considered. The project manager should ask himself if the change to the activities could cause the starting or ending date of the corresponding deliverables or final products to be delayed. He should also determine if the budget will be sufficient. If the answer to either of these questions is yes, the project manager can then use the tools and techniques of scope change control to assess the impact.
Project managers and the project team frequently refer to the WBS throughout the project. The WBS is the key to scope change control because it defines all the work in the project.

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