Analyzing Scope Creep

 

Specifically, in the context of scope creep, I am going to re-analyze the week two blog project.  At the University of Southern California (USC) I run the technology for the USC Libraries.  One of the groups I manage brings in digital collections of interest to USC as a “cloud archive” service to digitize, preserve, catalog and provide access to collections of interest to USC.  This group is called the USC Digital Repository (http://repository.usc.edu).  One of the collections we brought in was from a large studio and consisted of all of their TV and Film in digital form.

We had set up a yearlong pilot to prove the design and technologies to be employed would work.  However, after we had signoff on the project, a peer studio to the one we were working with got hacked severely (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2014/12/18/the-sony-pictures-hack-explained/).  This generated scope creep as the security team was asked to look at the project and added a number of new requirements and technology changes.

Scope creep can be business related or technical.  It can be externally generated or internally generated.  In this case it was both, and the downstream scope creep by adding in additional security enhancements was unknown yet significant (Kerzner, 2001, pp. 1145-1150).

The client did not want to go through a yearlong pilot again to prove the technology would work under the new security requirements.  A design was created, and the client signed off on the design knowing there was more risk that it might not work.  What we should have done at this point was create a full risk management plan (Piscopo, 2015, http://www.projectmanagementdocs.com/project-planning-templates/risk-management-plan.html#axzz44secUFGo).  There are a number of items that would have helped with managing the new scope.  Just prioritizing the risks would have made the project go faster, as we knew we were heading into rough territory.  Interviews between the primary content team and security team would have made many of the issues that came up much smoother.  If we had stopped to look at historical projects performed by the security team, some of their requirements could have been relaxed, and we could have understood the repercussions of some of the new requirements in ways that would have let us finish the tasks faster.  Labeling the new risks in a risk register and monitoring them in a way that was visible to all of the teams would have been enormously helpful and exposed where additional efforts were starting to greatly extend the project.

In the end, it took us almost an extra year to work through the security issues as we deployed the digital collection system that would bring in Petabytes of data to our archives.  Having a proper risk mitigation plan would have made the project far less stressful and possibly move faster.

References

Kerzner, H. (2001). Project management: A systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. New York: John Wiley.

Beach, L. (2006).  Leadership and the art of change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.b). Practitioner voices: Overcoming ‘scope creep’ [Video file].

Piscopo, M. (2015). Risk Management Plan. Retrieved June 08, 2016, from http://www.projectmanagementdocs.com/project-planning-templates/risk-management-plan.html#axzz44secUFGo.

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Bottom of Form

 

 

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Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources

I found two great resources for instructional design project costs.

The first is a Blog by a learning consultant named Donald Clark (https://plus.google.com/+DonaldClark007).  The Blog covers budgeting, training costs and a number of charts and tables on development costs ranging from instruction to software development time.  The link to the Blog is here: http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/costs.html.

The second is a video training series on Lynda.com https://www.lynda.com/Project-tutorials/How-work-project-costs-budgets/424947/486833-4.html.  This in depth lesson shows in video most of the techniques in our course text book, giving great examples on how to implement a WBS to understanding the critical chain method.

 

 

Communicating Effectively

When my organization first started using email in the mid ‘90s, we quickly ran into issues of mis-communication where people thought others were being inappropriate.  Email doesn’t have voice tone, visual cues, or any of the other aspects in-person communication that give us context to the words people are saying.  The result is that at my organization there was a communication to the entire staff that “email is not communication, it should only be used to share information”.  I still hold to that.  My management at the time were making sure that all key stakeholders in projects were on the same page for communication which is extremely important (Laureate, Video File).

The examples of communication through email, voice and in our course application, the Art of Effective Communication, highlights these issues.  The difference in the message from email to voice to in-person ranges from rude, to commanding and finally to encouraging and pleasant just by moving from email text to voice to in-person communication with the same content.  In business you can see similar types of communication about being wary of the use of email and how it can hurt your career if not used correctly (http://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2015/06/20/email-can-hurt-your-career-develop-better-communication-skills-with-these-5-other-tools/#29b276b225c0).

References

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.a). Communicating with stakeholders [Video file].

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Project management concerns: Communication strategies and organizational culture [Video file]

Murphy, M. (2015, June 20). Email Can Hurt Your Career: Develop Better Communication Skills With These 5 Other Tools. Retrieved May 19, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2015/06/20/email-can-hurt-your-career-develop-better-communication-skills-with-these-5-other-tools/#29b276b225c0

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

 

Learning from a Project “Post-mortem”

At the University of Southern California (USC) I run the technology for the USC Libraries.  One of the groups I manage brings in digital collections of interest to USC as a “cloud archive” service to digitize, preserve, catalog and provide access to collections of interest to USC.  This group is called the USC Digital Repository (http://repository.usc.edu).  One of the collections we brought in was from a large studio and consisted of all of their TV and Film in digital form.

We had set up a year long pilot to prove the design and technologies to be employed would work.  However, after we had signoff on the project, a peer studio to the one we were working with got hacked severely (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2014/12/18/the-sony-pictures-hack-explained/).  This generated scope creep as the security team was asked to look at the project and added a number of new requirements and technology changes.

Scope creep can be business related or technical.  It can be externally generated or internally generated.  In this case it was both, and the downstream scope creep by adding in additional security enhancements was unknown yet significant (Kerzner, 2001, pp. 1145-1150).

The client did not want to go through a year long pilot again to prove the technology would work under the new security requirements.  A design was created, and the client signed off on the design knowing there was more risk that it might not work.

In the end, it took us almost an extra year to work through the security issues as we deployed the digital collection system that would bring in Petabytes of data to our archives.  It would have probably cost the same and taken the same amount of time, but created considerably less stress if we had just started the pilot again instead of delivering the project almost a year late due to technical issues with the security requirements.

I think if we had pushed the client to do the pilot again there is a good chance the project would have died.  It is an important collection to the University, and to this day I struggle with whether or not I should have put my foot down and made sure we had a working pilot before starting the project, or rolled the dice with the client.

References

Kerzner, H. (2001). Project management: A systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. New York: John Wiley.

Beach, L. (2006).  Leadership and the art of change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.b). Practitioner voices: Overcoming ‘scope creep’ [Video file].

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Bottom of Form