For the last three weeks we have had an opportunity to work in teams assignments via distance and face to face. The structure of these assignments have forced virtual strangers to work together to assess problems, methodology, data collection, research, and written analysis and conclusions.
As the assignments have become more complex, I have noticed the propensity for “Scope Creep” to increase. Scope creep can be an evil adversary if you let it get the best of you and you must be on guard at all times.
For example when working in a group you will often have multiple points of view that have to be distilled down to the core elements of the project. I sometimes think that people have a hidden pressure to add items for fear of missing key elements of the assignment. So guess what happens…….that’s right…..Scope Creep!!
When a group first gets together on a project, everyone is full of enthusiasm and brainstorms ideas for the project. I often find this process to be fun and an enjoyable time during the assignment, but this excitement is often ruined by….you guessed it….Scope Creep. When I am at home staring into the mirror I ask myself, “why does it always show up and make the work more complex and larger than what is intended”!
When you really think about it the components of any assignment are to determine the problem statement or the scope of the project. While this sounds easy enough, I am finding that our assignments are not so conveniently packaged and have many variables to consider. As a result, an inordinate amount time is used in the planning and developing stage. I am thankful for the teams I have worked with because we have been able to discuss the variables in logical manner and eliminate those variables that did not make sense for the assignment. Scope Creep has been kept at bay, but it has taken enormous amount of effort and resources of our battle weary team.
Even when you have decided on the direction of the assignment, scope creep can rear its ugly head and broaden the scope of the project. You have to be ever vigilant against the evils of this nefarious foe, for it will always try to get the best of you.
Always remember to recognize the vile signs of Scope Creep:
- People starting to shout over one another even though you had already decided on a course of action. (Scope Creep has the ability to change ones personality)
- New diagrams on the white board suddenly appear even though they have nothing to do with the project (This is a particular nasty form of Scope Creep that may be contagious)
- Endless mind mapping exercises (Sometimes called the Scope Creep Vortex of Doom)
- Finally….Staring intently at your laptop and mumbling there must be another idea we can use
Now that you know the signs, please do take care and stay strong against this scourge of case studies across the land.