Project Management Software
Specialists in Project Infrastructure
Scope CreepOnce upon a time there was an old man who had lived in the one street all his life. He wanted to keep his memories of the people who worked in the street and asked an artist if he would help.
The old man took the artist into the street and asked him how much, and how long, to paint everyone in the street. The artist looked down the street, and counted 20 people. He said
The old man then walked him to the other end of the street.
To his surprise the artist could now see 30 people. Some were in doorways. Some couldn't be seen because they were standing behind other people. One person had been doing up a shoelace behind a car. The artist said
Does this sound familiar? How often do we count what we can see, and make an estimate based on that. Again and again, the time blows out because of what we didn't know we had to count. It is common sense to know that if we are trying to plot everything that needs to be done over several months in a project, we will not be able to see everything. We must make allowances for the unknown.
Try this exercise when explaining the concept to a person who is demanding an estimate. Ask them to write down everything that they are going to do next weekend - from midnight Friday to midnight Sunday. Allocate a time to each task. Add up all the times and see how much free time they have in the 48-hour period. Chances are you will come up with 8 or 10 hours of free time. When you ask them if they will have that time free, the usual response is
"Of course I won't have that amount of time free. The kids will need to be taken somewhere, and there will be a few people drop in or phone me, or we will decide on the spur of the moment to go out for lunch. I will be lucky to have 2 or 3 free hours."
Projects are no different. There will always be unforeseen activities. To sit down and list all the activities you know about, then allocate a time to each activity, then add up the time, will only give half the picture. If you can't see it, it doesn't mean it isn't there. So how to handle the contingency. In most organisations, contingency is a dirty word. Here are a few strategies.
Join our Members Club to view the article. It costs only A$10:00 ( ) per month. No minimum term. There are lots of other benefits including access to 150 project management white papers, online project management methodology, free templates and user guides, and 40% discount on Project Administrator Software (with 12 mth registration).