Thursday, November 15, 2007

What Are the Outputs of Scope Change Control?

How do you know if you have successfully conducted the scope change control process? The success of the scope change control process will be demonstrated by the accuracy and completeness of what it produces—its outputs, which are:
  • approved scope changes
  • corrective action
  • lessons learned
  • adjusted baseline
Scope changes are any modifications to the agreed-upon project scope as defined by the approved work breakdown structure. These changes often require adjustments to cost, time, or project. When the changes occur, project managers need to update planning documents and notify stakeholders as appropriate. These changes can be minor, such as making small changes to project limits or eliminating work that is not required, or major, such as adding work that was not in the original project plan or changing the project design.

Approved scope changes usually lead to corrective action. In general, corrective action is anything done to bring expected future project performance in line with the project plan. It often requires a root-cause analysis to identify the cause of the variances. Once you identify the cause of the variance, you or your team members can take appropriate corrective action.

Examples of corrective actions include narrowing the project scope to deliver the work results on budget or on time and adjusting resources by adding project team members or substituting project supplies.

Have you ever finished a project and wished you had done something differently? One of the outputs from scope change control is lessons learned. You can keep information about closed-out projects and use it to save time and money on future endeavors. The lessons learned during scope change control should become part of a project's historical database.

As you document the lessons learned, you could include the main causes of cost or schedule variances, the reasons behind the corrective action chosen, and any actions you will perform differently in future projects.

The final output from scope change control is an adjusted baseline. A baseline is the original approved plan for the project or particular project phase. On a project, there are often several separate baselines, such as the cost baseline, the schedule baseline, or the performance measurement baseline. Depending on the nature of the scope change, the corresponding baseline document may need to be revised or reissued to reflect the approved change. The adjusted baseline becomes the basis for determining future changes.

Approved scope changes, corrective actions, lessons learned, and adjusted baseline are the outputs of the scope change control process. To ensure your project's success, you will want to be certain these important and necessary elements are not overlooked and become part of the project process and final report.

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