Scope Creep



As an undergrad Education student, I was asked to design my ideal classroom along with a team of three members, and teach a lesson along with it. This project encompassed many different steps. We were asked to write out a project plan, create a drawn blueprint of it, create a shoebox model of it, and then actually create the live classroom. The classroom, resources, and/or supplies for the lesson were supposed to only be enough for the professor, and the other classmates.

Well, before I knew it all of the professors that were a part of the Education Department and students from all over the campus decided they were going to come because they had been hearing so much about the project and the many things we had planned for our lesson. The lesson was only supposed to be thirty minutes long, but because so many people were talking about it, we were asked to stretch the lesson out over the course of a week and to make sure that there was going to be enough resources for the faculty and students that would be coming to observe and participate in the learning experience. Well, as we were going purchasing resources more and more people were being added to the guest list and anybody could walk in to enjoy the festivities.

Well, how do you plan for something like that? How do you know that the people that say they are coming will actually show up? It’s definitely not guaranteed. I wanted to create a guest list or a RSVP event. Of course the professor was against it because she wanted everyone to be welcomed to join in on the festivities. I wasn’t trying to keep anyone from coming; I only wanted to ensure that we would have enough food for our “A Taste of Food from Around the World” lesson for Social Studies, activities for our Language Arts Module, and games for our Arithmetic games.

The outcome was that we over purchased items and everyone was able to take plates of food home for later, and we were out of money because we couldn’t return the other items we had purchased. The great part about it was that everyone enjoyed themselves and our project turned out great.

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5 thoughts on “Scope Creep

  1. It sounds like your group created a lot of buzz and that you were successful. It is too bad your RSVP idea was denied. You were trying to plan accordingly but were unable too and unfortunately you were out the resources:(

  2. Thanks for your post. I can relate to a project taking a new turn. Sounds like this particular project grew all out of proportion. It’s great that you are able to learn and take a positive approach to the experience. I agree that the project manager (professor) should have listened to your ideas about the RSVP. One of the most common elements I’ve seen on posts is that the project manager is not acting as an advocate for the team members. It’s critical to remember that team members are a resource and keep the project scope manageable for the team members!

  3. I can relate to this similar project. We had to also create a model classroom for an undergraduate project. I found it difficult because I was a non-licensure in Education and Information Systems, a bit of an odd-ball within my Education Department. But, I found it an interesting project nonetheless because we had a finite number of resources and space to design with. We differed a bit by creating a “virtual” presentation for others to see in a given timeframe online at their own leisure. We could use any resource we wanted as long as the embedded media could be linked in the Moodle Account that would be open to those viewing our projects. I seem to recall some people using Google Sketchup, brand new at the time, which was pretty neat.

    Managing time for presentation can be incredibly difficult sometimes. I think some people become so passionate about their project that they forget to notice time. Portney et al., mentioned a good piece of advice on managing some of this creep by making sure team members (presenters) understand the risks ahead of time and plan for contingency. It sounds as though the Education Deparment didn’t plan accordingly ahead of time to make sure there was ample contingency. I would definitely say a change control plan would have been in order on this one!

    Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008).  Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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