This is not some fictitious account but facts presented in the form of a case study. A project in the construction industry with a budget of $10 Million was overshot by 20%. One might wonder what would be the margin then, clearly marking the bottom-line in red.
Root of the problem
When the builder was questioned about the glaring rise in the overheads, that went way over the budget, "it cannot be reported as scope creep though it turned out eventually." Haven’t we heard that before? “Yes, we have. And before you ask, this is not my first project. I am an experienced hand and I speak from personal experience, and that’s why 20 percent might sound whopping to you, is inevitable to me. You speak about creep, like a leaky water pipe. Then imagine in a massive water plant, one spot in a particular pipe will call for a complete overhaul of the plumbing unit. Don’t assume there is a quick fix like some adhesive pasted to block the leak. That’s a layman’s understanding. What actually takes place is more complex and cumbersome. Assuming, this took away a major chunk of the work from completion, you are looking at lapse in work which translated in hours and converted in dollars and cents can lead to sever deficit financially diminishing the returns. So to identify the root cause can prove painfully expensive. The lesson learned, amongst many, can be the plumbing factor – which we naturally pay more attention and extra-cautious in the next undertaking. Then unbeknown, in the next project there will be some other issue out of the blue – it can be a wiring issue, for all you know.
Risk is inherent. No doubt about it. But the nature of risk? How about a team member falling sick? Or the work done by someone isn’t thoroughly checked and impacts the development made so far? Or natural calamity or a strike? These don’t constitute creep but do attribute to scope creep one way or the other. Assuming a team member falls sick and the deadline has to be met. Sometimes, driven by deadline pressure or closure on dependency, one tends to crosscut and aim for closure. There are some risks to be taken, which may not impact short-terms but make you pay with grave consequences in the long run. Well, that again is a risk. So creep need not necessarily be direct, straight and said forth. Creep is not something that can be defined or confined to a particular category. At best it can be contained is not clichéd. Objectively assessing, that’s reality because every project closure will script its own ‘lessons learned’ and yet we observe failings in some form. Incredibly, some repeated; it may not be intentional or ignorant but things that’s possible to be overlooked as trivia can prove to be a thorn and troublesome. To wrap it up, we would want every lesson learnt to be put into use after all what is knowledge without application. Furthermore, the client’s expectation of earning more for every penny needs to be professionally managed. Expect the customer to come up with last minute surprises, that is strictly out of scope but then you can’t say ‘no’ not wanting to offend. Hence one should draw the line somewhere without hurting either party involved. It’s a thin line that calls for a fine act. We don’t want scope creep – it just self-invites. That’s scope creep. I just gave you a long-winded definition."
Inevitable? So there is no way out? There are ways to mitigate but Scope Creep control has everything to do with you. We started with why is there scope creep always. And also, we stated categorically that creep can be contained. How do you contain scope creep? We will discuss the ways in our next posting. Meanwhile, if you have any ideas, suggestions, theories, or experience, please do share and educate our users.
Write a Comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked (*)