Thursday, April 9, 2015

EDUC 6145 - Week 6 - Analyzing Scope Creep

My scope creep project happened pretty recently, and has not completely been resolved, so I’m interested to stick it out and see what happens. There is one training course I’m currently working on, and there is no PM designated. Where I work, we have a designer and a SME on a team. Other people will only be brought in if necessary. Luckily, for this course I have a few other designers working with me.

This course is one that has already been created and is in a revision process so that we can pinpoint what is needed and what exactly to train students on. The students in the class come from all over the world to be trained on giving background investigations, as well as perform other duties. Because the course is already being taught and I have access to the lesson plans and previous ADDIE paperwork that had been filled out, I can see what is being taught. I was beginning to re-paper the course (which just means to update the paperwork and make any necessary changes) and had gotten to the design phase when the SME made it known she wanted to add three days to the course.

Here are a few reasons why this is bad: each day costs money, per student. The amount that a student’s organization will pay for them to attend class only covers a percentage of the training facility’s cost. Adding the days to the course would not only cost more, but the papering process would need to be restarted, meaning we’d lose money from the delays. When the SME and I finally reached a consensus, she mentioned that the three added days would not be taking place at our facility. This led to bringing more people on board to coordinate, spending more money in paying for rental cars and hotel rooms for students, and having to redo the paperwork once again. (I also should note that the only reason the team conceded to the SME was because there was not enough data to back up the idea that these last three days are unnecessary.)

This project began in November, and the course is not until June. However, the original course date was April, so we’ve already lost money on having to delay the class. Another designer and I are the leads on this project, and at this point it’s difficult to see what else could come up to get us off track; it actually looks like we may make our June date.

If I was a PM, I would have gone back to the analysis phase once the extra three days were requested and conducted a needs analysis to see if the extra time is something that is really necessary. Chances are this analysis would have taken less time to put together than all the paperwork and coordination for an extended course. I also would have kept the lines of communication open along the way so that this news didn’t take us by surprise halfway through the project. Our curriculum manager also has working knowledge of each course, and had I been in control, I would have brought him in much sooner to get his take on the changes. 


  1. Hi Gayle - I read your post with interest, and I don't envy the position you were/are in on this project! It definitely sounds like a "change control system," as suggested by our course text would have been helpful (Portny et al., 2008, p. 346). Having a prearranged process for dealing with the kind of change your SME was proposing would have forced the kinds of analysis you wanted but were not able to get. I think you made a great summary of what could (should?) have been done in your last paragraph. Good luck to you on the rest of the project, hopefully all of the bumps in the road are behind you!
    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.

  2. Hi Gayle,
    We have a major conference that used to last an entire week (i.e. 6 days of training). The conference is training for physicians who want to network with other professionals and to obtain their Continuing Medical Education (CME ) credits that are required for their state licenses. As mentioned, the conference used to last 6 days and three years ago, my Organization that hosts the conference shortened the conference to 4 days to save money. The attendees have had mixed thoughts on the shortened week. Most liked the move to a shortened week but there are a large minority of attendees who felt they are missing out on the training. Because of the shortened week, many of our courses overlapped (which caused more angst). We are providing something new this year. We are going to give out free online access to every session to attendees so they can watch the every session online for a year. I am aware that you did not design the course and the course was extended beyond your control. You might want to suggest that a future course could be flipped – so that the attendees can do some or most of the training before they arrive at your destination. I am aware that every day of training cost money on all parties. Good luck with your course!