Thursday, October 13, 2011

Scope Creep

When I was given the assignment to discuss a time when a project I was working on fell to the pressures of scope creep I just stared at the screen and felt my frustrations rise. My limited exposure to this field was once again proving to make my assignments far more difficult than need be. So I offer the caveat that if you are purusing this blog to gain a wealth of knowledge about this problem I will not guarantee that this is the spot for you. But I will do my best in the following lines to offer you some real life perspective on scope creep...

Let me start by explaining that scope creep is the "natural tendency of the client, as well as project team members, to try to improve the project's output as the project progresses" (Portny, 2008).

I am at heart a minimalist. I like to keep things neat, clean, simple and yet beautiful. When I was early in my teaching career I took on the challenge of putting together a prom on a shoestring budget in the rundown gymnasium of a nonpublic special education school. 

The scope creep came from me. As I worked on the project I was flooded with more and more ideas that would make the prom even better. I was constantly thinking about the undeniable fact that this would be the pinnacle of social situations for many of the kids. With all of my changes I also adopted "an informal process of handling requests for change" (Portny, 2008). What I could have used aside from a calming dose of reality was a change control system, which is a "well controlled, formal process whereby changes can be introduces and accomplished with as little distress as possible" (Portny, 2008).

Now don't get me wrong, the prom was a huge success. The Secret Garden theme brought tears to the eyes of several parents.  But by the end of the process I was completely burnt out because I had to take on the majority of the changes on my own. By taking a few simple steps a lot of the stress and strain of those couple of months could have been far less stressful. 


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.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources

This week I was assigned the task of finding some sites that would offer help in Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources for an instructional design project. "Various tools and strategies can help project managers improve the accuracy of budget estimates," (Portny, 2008), and I found a few that have already started to help me.  I can honestly say that this project management thing is not (yet) my strong suit. So I was eager to find some sites that could actually help me gain a better understanding while actually becoming a resource I could have for future endeavors. 

The first site I found, Project Management Tips, was a great starting point because it gave me some real understanding. With its brief synopsis of project management and very informative links (located at the bottom) I was able to see a full picture of the processes and figure out where my project time and money would go. The site offered simple and helpful statements  like: "In order to run the project you first need to know how long things take, how much they will cost, and what kind of resources will be required. The only way you can get this data is by doing good estimates. Without good estimates you really have no way of knowing where you are at any point in the project, and you have no way of predicting how much the project will cost or how long it is going to take to do it" 

Another great site was the Life By Design blog post, Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources in Instructional Design. This blog offers links to sites that will do the math for calculating project costs. It also has some formulas for calculating additional project expenses and figuring out how much time different projects, or portions of a project, will take. Deborah, the author, gives step by step understanding of the different links on the page. The blog is a great resource for all things in project management and instructional design. She also blogs about scope creep, communication and other topics I have been exposed to in this course. 

If you can ignore the very busy ads, and other visuals on my final choice, Big Dog and Little Dog Site, you will see that this site is laced with all types of formulas and equations for finding out costs, time estimations and a plethora of other details for managing instructional design projects. The site has sections on budgeting, training costs, estimating development hours, and a host of other topics. 

I am not saying that these are the best sites out there for an instructional design professional. But as the self proclaimed novice that I am, these 3 sites offer me a deeper understanding of the profession. "Whatever the chosen method, being able to accurately estimate costs is a critical project manager responsibility" (Portny, 2008). Good luck!!!

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.