Case Study: Scope Management

  1. What are the primary benefits of developing a comprehensive project scope analysis? A comprehensive project scope analysis serves several benefits that permit a company to guide the dream of a project to a successful completion. One benefit is transforming the idea of the project into a working concept. Once the concept is developed, project details can be mapped out. Scope analysis outlines each step of the project in a detailed manner. The rimary benefit to this is it aligns the project so that the final product will be consisted with the original goals/objectives. By outlining each step, scope analysis increases the likelihood that the project will stay within budget and time constraints as well as meet predetermined specifications and quality parameters.
  2. Refer to the Bradley Fighting Vehicle case at the end of the chapter (Case Study 5. 3). When is “Scope creep” useful and when is it dangerous? Under what circumstances might an organization refuse to freeze design specifications for valid reasons (e. g. Microsoft)? Scope creep occurs when the project specifications are continually readjusted. This is undesirable when the objective of the project is highly standardized product – one that is needed to serve a very exact purpose. However, in the case of a product such as computer software, scope creep may be beneficial. Companies like Microsoft stay competitive through innovation. By allowing project team members to have more freedom in design and creation, they are fostering an environment conducive to innovation. As software engineers see areas for improvement or innovation they are allowed to act on it.Thereby creating a more creative and competitive product.
  3. What are the key characteristics of a work package? A work package is a specific step of the project. Work packages are smaller pieces of the whole project, which are more manageable and definable than the whole. They create a chronological map from one step to the next detailing what needs to be completed at each stage. Each work package includes its own deadline, resource requirements and supervisor. Work packages can be further broken down into subtasks that can be assigned to an individual worker or group. Collectively, all the work packages of a project combined lead the project team from the start to completion of the project.
  4. Create a Work Breakdown Structure for a term paper project or another school-related project you are working on. What are the steps in the WBS? Can you identify any sub-steps for each step? This assignment is designed to get students comfortable with deconstructing the project into various levels, including Deliverables, and Work Packages. The goal is identifying the relevant elements in the project, not the sequential nature of those steps. If instructors wish, they can ask students, as a second step, to create some idea of the sequentiality of these WBS elements.
  5. What are the benefits of designing a Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) for a project? An RAM outlines the team members directly responsible for each task. It also includes a list of supporting organizational members. It is beneficial for following chain of command, solving interdepartmental issues and receiving proper approval. Additionally, an RAM increases the flow of communication throughout the team. By knowing who is in charge of what, members can notify the necessary people of progress or completion of tasks. This keeps the group informed of potential problems and up-to-date on the project’s current status. The process of creating the RAM is also beneficial to the project manager. It requires the identification of team members’ abilities, qualifications, strengths and weaknesses. Tasks and assignments can then be better coordinated to create the highest level of efficiency.
  6. Develop an argument for scope reporting mechanisms. At a minimum, what types of reports do you consider necessary for document control of a project? Why? Two main concerns of project scope are seeing that the project meets time and budget constraints. Without some sort of limits (i. e. project scope), projects can quickly become expensive, long-term investments of a company’s time and resources. Scope reporting can help reduce the risk of such runaway projects. Reports that update on costs incurred using S-curves and variance updates are important for keeping the project within budget constraints. These reports may also serve as control mechanisms. If team members know they will have to publish spending reports frequently to other members in the organization, they may be less likely to approve unscheduled expenditures. Reports related to adherence to the planned time schedule work in a similar fashion. If the project begins to lag behind, team members may have more incentive to look for the cause of the delays if they are required to report variances from the planned time table.
  7. What is the chief purpose of configuration management? In your opinion, why has it become increasingly popular in recent years as part of the project management process? The main purpose of configuration management is to manage and control change within projects. A plan for execution of activities and tasks is agreed upon by those involved in the project. Configuration management then monitors variations from this pre-established plan. Change is an anticipated factor of project management. Configuration management provides a way to deal with changes as they arise, so they do not cause more disruption than necessary. Changes are documented so that all involved in the project may be notified and modifications can be made universally. By identifying necessary changes as early as possible and handling the problem early on, configuration management decreases time delays related to unforeseen conditions and helps reduce obstacles that may result from change later on in the project process.
  8. What is the logic behind developing a plan for project close-out prior to even beginning the project? Upon completion of the project, certain documentation will be required by management and/or the client involved. The documentation may be used for legal purposes, as training material or in auditing procedures. Therefore, t is important that the closeout information be thorough and accurate. Creating a plan early on is important because proper documentation may need to be performed as the project progresses. By knowing what information will be required at the end of the project, the team can keep proper records at various stages as the project advances. Trying to create this documentation after the fact may be difficult or inaccurate.

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