Creepy Scope Creep

Scope Creep: The natural tendency of the client, as well as project team members, to try to improve the project’s output as the project progresses. Portny et al, 2008, p. 346.

It’s hard to imagine a project that hasn’t fallen under the spell of scope creep. It always starts out as an easy process, define the project, create a statement of work, and get to it. The reality is that the client or stakeholders keep coming back with additions, changes, deletions – you name it.

I’ve experienced scope creep on almost every project I’ve worked with. The project I’m currently working on, an expense management software implementation, is certainly no exception. This project is already daunting. We are rolling out a new software process and have to train thousands of employees on the new system. This project already has a very aggressive schedule – just a few months before rolling out the software to the pilot groups, then additional training for the rest of the employees.

A few months ago, several managers decided that we needed to add a new pilot group to our process. And, best of all, we had to push up the pilot for this group by four months and accomplish the pilot over the summer. Not only did this effect the training schedule, but also the configuration of the software, the implementation of the software, etc. Of course, this wasn’t included in the initial budget process, so there are no funds for additional training.

Our team went into both panic and production mode. We made several requests to rethink the addition of this pilot group, but to no avail. Eventually, we had to redirect resources to develop training and production for this pilot.

While it was an incredibly challenging and stressful experience, there were some positives. We were able to produce some quality training, and that training provided a foundation that we hadn’t considered using in the initial project. We also learned a great deal about managing our people resources, and the stresses placed upon them. While this phase of the project was especially stressful, it provided valuable information for the next phase, which will be equally challenging and fast-paced. We learned how to better establish expectations for training in a global environment.

There are always positive and negatives with any project, but I think the most important lesson to learn from this process is to respect the staffing resources. In retrospect, I believe it’s important to be willing to discuss the original project scope and the deliverables and make an effort to eliminate the dreaded scope creep. While I think it’s great to have a “can-do” attitude, a project manager sometimes has to be the one person to negotiate or enforce the original scope. It’s not easy to be the enforcer, but sometimes that’s what the project manager needs to do.



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


Budgets and Estimates — The sticking point in Instructional Design

This week, our Project Management course focuses on budgeting and allocating resources throughout a project cycle. As part of this process, we are looking at the specifics of allocating resources for the instructional design process.

I find this to be an interesting process. There are so many different components of instructional design and because there are so many different opinions about how to budget for the process.  A few months, I was researching the average cost to develop an eLearning module. In performing a routine search I found lots of discussion among Instructional Designers, with wildly varying opinions of the costs of eLearning development.

In researching this week’s assignments, I found a couple of great resources which are listed below.

The first is an article about estimating costs and time in instructional design. I like this article because it examines a lot of different factors in creation of instructional design materials, and also gives some figures on estimating budget for these processes. Best of all, information in included on how these figures were gathered – such as how the hourly rate for instructional design is calculated.

Please check out the following link:

In researching estimating time, I found another article/blog that refers specifically to calculating the time to develop eLearning. This article contains several links to other articles on estimating the time it takes to develop and produce eLearning. It’s really interesting to be able to compare and contrast different methods for estimating the same process. I think ultimately, we end up taking all the information and creating a method that works best for our individual organizations.

For information on budgeting for eLearning and the development cycle, please refer to this link:

Finally, I found another great resource on project allocation and estimations. There really is a science to estimation. This article illustrates some of the methods for developing better project estimates with greater accuracy. I think it’s valuable to review the process. For more information, check out this link:

Resources – time and money – are valuable. It’s hard to find a way to accurately estimate the use of these resources, especially when a project is large. The above resources offer a good starting point for analyzing and budgeting.