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SPARTA Trip: PARAMETERS (Avoiding The 666 of Projects)

O_poster OK, so with all the hullabaloo about the re-release of The Omen on 6-6-6 (clever marketing, regardless of the quality of the movie), it stands to reason that somebody should take to task the Damien of project management, the demon of Carpe Factum, the true 666 of accomplishment:  Scope Creep.

Like Damien, Scope Creep starts out cute and cuddly.  That sweet, innocent little "oh, while you're at it, why don't you just...." (you can fill in the blank).  And then the demon reveals his little 666, which is why you're now in project recovery mode.  The bodies are piling up faster than the average horror flick remake, and you're left to fight the beast.

The silver dagger for slaying scope creep in a project recovery mode is pretty simple:  PARAMETERS (the 'P' in our SPARTA acronym).  Set some firm boundaries while everybody is alert to the fact that you are rescuing this project from the jaws of Satan.  Tell exactly what is in scope and what is out of scope.  Document it (preferably on parchment scroll... in blood, if necessary).  Since you are in project recovery mode, there will be a lot of uncertainty.  Slay that beast here and now and make it clear to all concerned what is (and is not) going to be addressed as you complete this project.  Ambiguity is not your friend.  You're already perched precariously on the balcony... don't let the little beast come along and knock you off.

(My apologies for the shameless exploitation of a major media event and countless pre-millennialist religious icons to get the point across about project management and project recovery... this one was just too easy to resist.  I promise to be back to my angelic self tomorrow... snicker... giggle.... OK, maybe not.)

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Lucia Mancuso

Everyone hates a Creep.
I like the shameless promotion exploitation and the religious icons - it suits the topic well.
I agree whole heartedly... the worst thing about project creep in my industry is that it steers peoples passions off a project and causes them to procrastinate more. More creeps....
It needs to be dealt with NOW NOW NOW!!!! If not that is when disaster strikes.


Lucia - great point about diversion of passion. We project managers usually think of this in terms of the level of activity and timeline slippage. The "soft" impacts can be almost as devastating as people end up spending their valuable mental and emotional energy on things that just don't matter.

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