Published here, September, 2001.

Introduction | Pyramids | Scope Creep | Management
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Scope Creep and Exercising Control

Since a creeping scope was clearly evident during this project's implementation, one must conclude that Imhotep was well acquainted with the principles of scope change management. On the other hand, it is doubtful if Imhotep was plagued with the current-day problems of "gaining and retaining team commitment", for he had available to him a powerful enticement. Those who failed to perform could be summarily executed.

Today, this form of incentive has been mostly discredited, though not entirely. Its modem-day equivalent, summary dismissal [now euphemistically known as "outsourcing"], is to be found in the corporate world, but has the attendant difficulties of endless litigation if not conducted in a very careful manner.

Over the centuries, the classic master-servant relationship continued to serve projects well, for major works continued to be built, including the seven wonders of the world. It was not until the early twentieth century, however, that serious attention was given to the idea of "management", and then only in the context of maintaining efficiency and continuity of an on-going operation, rather than for the development of a "project. Many and varied have been the techniques promoted from time to time, some with catchy buzz names. While some have stood the test of time, others have passed by only as temporary "management fads".

One suspects that many were created simply to catch the imagination for purposes of selling consulting services to senior management — a sort of elixir of (management) life! Nevertheless, project oriented techniques began to emerge such as work study, graphical portrayal of activities (Gantt charts), management-by-objectives, and more recently, total quality management.

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