Scope Creep – It DOES happen!

Scope creep is very easy to have happen; currently I am in a project where I am the lead instructional designer. We were tasked to bring in-house training that was offered by the LMS vendor. Current state is the LMS administrators are sent to Nashville to attend a three-day learning event, which covered all aspects of the Administrator’s duties. As we are a not for profit organization, the strategy behind bringing the learning in-house is to be stewards for our financial resources. The original scope was to create 1 – 2 hour virtual classes set up in modules so the students could attend from their geographically diverse offices. The project charter was created and in hindsight simplified the project.

The first mistake was to not have a WBS, or a resource allocation plan. While the resources were in place, the problem arouse when two of the resources had higher priority projects bump the work for this project out of the time-line. The competing projects were not getting completed on time. Intervention was called for by way of a meeting with the senior management of each of the projects and higher manager to help define the priority of both of the projects. The end results included assigning a project manager to the project where I was the lead ID and a new realistic timeline has been established.

Weekly status meetings have been held throughout this project and continue to this day. As stated in the learning videos and the reading throughout this course Communication is one of the best tools we have as a project manager.

I believe the knowledge I have gained from this class with the tools will greatly help me better manage projects. I realize the time spent in the project planning documents will greatly assist me in the managing of the projects I will be given in the future. I will be sure to communicate with my team and with the project stakeholders on a regular basis. I will also reach out to the team for their ideas on fixing problems and not take that burden on myself.


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.

Greer, M. (2008) The Project Management Minimalist: Just Enough PM to Rock Your Projects!   Laureate custom Ed, Baltimore

5 thoughts on “Scope Creep – It DOES happen!

  1. Jane,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences. I agree with you that communication is the key to successful projects. It seemed to have been an effective tactic by your organization to have a meeting with the senior management to prioritize the different projects. This allowed your project to get back on task and reestablish a more fitting timeline.


  2. I like how you named your blog, “Scope Creep It Does Happen” it assumes the posture that change and creep is inevitable so you can plan accordingly. Portny et al., (2008) states that, “project managers give themselves the greatest chance for success if they confront head-on the possibility that some things might change. They need to prepare at the outset for how to minimize any associated negative consequences and maximize any positive consequences” (p.377). Your scenario is a very true situation that happens daily.

    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.


  3. Hi Jane,

    It’s really cool to read experiences from someone who is actually working in the field. Project management seems to be lot like ID in that the steps you take and the processes you document seem almost like overkill until you go through the process and miss a step. Then you realize why having things like a written communication plan will save you time an effort in the long run. You can get the job done without the documents we learned about in this course, but you will probably waste time and resources trying to figure things out on the fly.


  4. Michelle,
    You hit the nail on the head, I did experience a great deal of wasted time, for myself as well as my resources. We are now back on track (using tools) and the project is moving well now. While the project charter and design document were written up correctly, the steps I missed is the WBS document. As the PM I should have monitored the scope closer in order for this project to move in the estimated time-frame. It became easy to drift away from the projected date because I did not monitor the project close enough as stated in our reading last week (Lynch, M. M., & Roecker, J; 2007). I appreciated you bringing up creating SMART goals in your blog. I will tell you that the context we speak of SMART goals is during performance reviews, however I do see a need for them in major projects. Thank you again.

    Lynch, M.M.& Roecker, J (2007) Project Managing eLearning: A hard look for successful design delivery and management, London: Routledge Copyright by Taylor & Francis Group.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s