Possible Reasons for Neglecting Project Scope Management
Scope management may be neglected because, as a problem, it may be difficult to recognize. Brodkorb observes that a deficient scope statement (requirements definition) creates "surprises" in cost and schedule performance, and may be manifested as other problems, such as disputes over project changes. He describes a deficient statement as one in which there is a lack of appreciation for the technical issues, complexities, and other implications. In this, Brodkorb echoes Genest et al cited earlier, who attribute the potential for cost and schedule overruns to inadequate project definition.
Finally, scope management has been neglected because project managers tend to regard decisions about the features and components of the product as "technical" issues, and hence the exclusive province of specialists such as engineers, scientists, pharmacologists, systems analysts, programmers, and industrial designers, to name a few. These are the creative members of the project team who provide innovative ideas about the technical, physical, and aesthetic characteristics of the outputs. It is very proper that they take professional responsibility for their recommendations. Their ideas, however, are subject to review and acceptance by project management.
It is the project manager's duty to ensure that the work of the creative professional is examined for fidelity to the client's requirements and for compliance with the agreed standards of quality. Such action to control the details of the design (in the broad sense of the word) of an end product, as the design is developed, is the essence of pro-active scope management. Ensuring that proper designs are prepared does not require that the project manager be a specialist in the technologies in question. It does require that there be a management mechanism in place to review and to confirm the adequacy of designs in relation to baseline scope standards.
A telling indication of the degree to which scope management has been misclassified as a technical issue is the fact that configuration management and its associated methods, one of the most powerful tools available for scope management, is virtually ignored in the general project management literature. Webster includes it on his list of tools. Stephanou and Obradovitch discuss it in an appendix to their book. Stuckenbruck, reporting on behalf of the committee and workshop on the Project Management framework in the 1986 report on the PMBOK, classifies configuration management, along with quality assurance, as a supporting or service discipline that is often essential for project management success, and might be included in the body of knowledge.
It is argued in the subsequent chapters of this paper, that configuration management techniques are central and universal, not peripheral and occasional, to achieving the scope objective.
47. Brodkorb, R.E. The Most Troublesome Project Practices: Shouldn't We Measure Them Too? Proceedings of the 1986 Seminar/Symposium Drexel Hill, PA: The Project Management Institute, 1986, p3
48. Genest, B.A., Nguyen, T.H., Paradis, J., and Smith, J. Measuring Success in Software Development Projects. Proceedings of the 1986 Seminar/Symposium Drexel Hill, PA: The Project Management Institute, 1986, 177
49. Webster, F.M. Tools for Managing Projects. Project Management Quarterly June 1982, XIII, 2, p48
50. Stephanou, M.S., and Obradovitch, M.M. Project Management Systems and Development and Productivity. Malibu, CA: Daniel Spencer Publishers, 1985, p313
51. Stuckenbruck, L.C. Project Management Framework. Project Management Journal. August 1986, XVII, 3, p27