My wife will tell you I am the world’s worst shopper. She is as usual, probably right! Take last Sunday. She has a significant birthday coming up and I wanted to buy her a special present so off to Brent Cross shopping centre we went.
We started off well and we explored a range of jewellers without much luck. From there, it went downhill. Why? We also needed some vegetables, so we steered our way in that direction only for my wife to spot some jeans and tops she would quite like to buy. I lost her for about 30 minutes while she tried on various garments and finished up buying a new top.
Then it hit me; shopping is like a project. Why? Because when I shop, I have a clear agenda – I know what I intend to buy. However, others (including my wife) go off the agenda (scope creep) by actively looking for more to be included; looking at other merchandise – and spending more than intended by buying them as well!
On a recent project management course many of the group faced the issue of ‘scope creep’ – uncontrolled changes to the project scope. They really struggled to deal with additions to the project. This was despite having an agreed change control process with templates that need signing off by the project sponsor.
I asked those on the course to think about a situation where they had been asked to add something to a project which in their opinion was out of scope. I then role played one of the scenarios; I played the individual and the other person played the project manager. It was very instructive. Despite knowing about the change control approach within the company, they actually agreed to the change. The person I chose simply could not refer me (a senior manager) to the system within the company.
I then got the group to role play and they did this several times. Result: they said they all felt better as they had rehearsed what they needed to do and done it several times.
Of course, whether this happens or not depends on many many factors. However, as one person pointed out, the course allowed them the time and space to think through some of the issues as well as practice in how to deal with changes.
As for my shopping trip. I am sorry to say we are back again at the weekend to buy that special present. Though if our younger daughter Jane has anything to do with it we will be using the internet!