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With Halloween right around the corner, everyone seems to be talking about the things they’re most afraid of–ghosts, witches, vampires, zombies–but if you’re in the middle of an implementation project, you’re likely scared of scope creep!
Runaway expectations can be the death of even the most thoroughly planned ERP projects. In short, scope creep occurs when teams expand project scope and objectives without thinking about the effects on cost, time, and resources needed to successfully complete the project. Software implementation promises improved business processes, increased productivity, and increased profits, so no one can blame manufacturers and distributors for getting carried away; however, scope creep can lead to disappointments in software and even project failure. In fact, according to ERP focus, 60% of projects fail and 41% of enterprises fail to achieve more than half of the expected benefits.
Managing scope creep is a challenge in software implementation projects, but it can be avoided by ensuring your project team pays careful attention to project goals and expectations from the beginning of the project to the end. Outlined below are some helpful ways to avoid and manage scope creep in your software projects!
Create a Plan
Scope creep is best avoided by creating a detailed plan before the project even starts. Talk to the stakeholders and software users to come up with clearly defined objectives and necessary resources to achieve those objectives. We recommend encouraging the stakeholders to have an upfront conversation about the potential risks associated with the project. And, prioritization of requirements is helpful, as you may find budgets and resources might not allow for everything.
Further, it’s not realistic to believe the project won’t change at all throughout its duration, but you can control how your team addresses these changes. Create a process for reviewing proposed changes. Think about who on your team should be reviewing and approving/denying proposed project changes.
Developing a process is imperative to the success of the project. By developing a process ahead of time, you can be sure all aspects of the project, including changes, are per the scope and objectives.
Document the Plan
Once this plan is laid out, write everything down. It might be time-consuming to document everything; however, as the project advances, you will be able to use this document to check on progress and eliminate the possibility of your implementation team biting off more than they can chew–so to speak.
This document should be almost annoyingly thorough, and it should be easily accessible to all team members and stakeholders.
Open and transparent communication is key to a successful project. As changes and new requirements arise with implementation, we suggest having meetings and conversations about how these fit–or don’t fit–with the project scope, and how it will impact the budget and timeline. Sometimes this involves pushing executives and key decision-makers to make tough judgments about what is go-live-critical.
Further, although no one likes to talk about additional costs, it’s highly advisable not to let your project team hide from those conversations, as they are normal in the types of implementations that maximize enterprise software.
Enterprise implementation projects are complex and disruptive, so success relies on your team’s ability to make tough calls to keep the project on track.
Get Outside Help
A consulting firm can bring your project the perspective and expertise it needs to excel. The best consultants will have years of knowledge and a deep understanding of your software vendor to ensure you are fully capitalizing on the features designed to optimize your business performance. Plus, consultants that have performed countless implementations know the risks involved, so they can ensure your team avoids scope creep.
At Datix, our consultants have experience in managing projects and mitigating scope creep for multiple manufacturing and distribution environments. We take the time to gain a thorough understanding of your business process, and we dedicate ourselves to seeing your company grow. We will present you with a fresh, unbiased perspective on your workflow, detect problem areas, and provide real-world solutions.
Scope creep is scary, there’s no doubt about it! But by creating a detailed, documented plan and being open to communication, your team can manage scope creep.
To learn more about mitigating scope creep, software projects, or Datix’s exciting software solutions, contact us today!