Scope Creep in IT Project Management

Document is Atta. This module is about the problems of creating companywide systems and acquiring the necessary hardware, software, and qualified IT personnel. It is also about all the reasons why this is a very difficult thing to do, at least in accordance with plans and within the budget. Like all organizational decision-making, systems planning and acquisition is a complex muddle of conflicting goals, interests, unclear reasons, payoffs, and poor communication. This indictment is presented without apology, because it is, in fact, typical. This is not to say that there are not exceptions, and occasionally systems planning and acquisition is actually done well. But many things in the organization mitigates against this, and we often fight a rearguard action against all the forces that work routinely in favor of chaos. A good place to begin is with Dion Hinchcliffe’s article on enterprise architecture structure and development: Hinchcliffe D., (2009, August 11). Pragmatic new models for enterprise architecture take shape. Retrieved from http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hinchcliffe/pragmatic-new-models-for-enterprise-architecture-take-shape/674. But the ruination of many good plans for rational and systematic architectures lies in what’s called “scope creep” — the gradual changing of a design during its implementation, often to the point where it becomes unrecognizable. Here’s a short video that illustrates the issue. It’s not about an information system as such, but you’ll recognize the dialogue here, perhaps in a familiar context: EngPMgt. (2011). Scope creep – Project Management. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHSjpFUKQR4. So what to do about it? Well, here are two pretty good sets of advice: Vandermitt, C. (2011, June 11). Managing scope creep in project management. The Project Management Hut. Retrieved from http://www.pmhut.com/managing-scope-creep-in-project-management. Baker, A., & Greer, M. (2011). Best practices for minimizing project scope creep focus. Retrieved from http://michaelgreer.biz/BP-project-scope-creep.pdf. In addition, the optional readings expand on many of the central points; you may also want to do some independent Internet-based research of your own to clarify any issues that concern you. When you have read through the articles and related material, please compose a 4-6 page critical analysis paper, following the general point/counterpoint model described below, on the topic: “Implementing Baker and Greer’s ‘Best Practices’ will [OR will not] eliminate the problem of scope creep in IT project planning” You must pick one of the two opposing points of view to defend in your paper, although you aren’t necessarily obligated to discredit the opposing viewpoint; simply argue that the viewpoint you are taking is better supported by the literature and the evidence. Obviously, as noted below, this will obligate you to actually be able to present such evidence in an academically respectable manner. Case Assignment Expectations Your paper should be short (4-6 pages, not including cover sheet and references) and to the point. It is to be structured as a point/counterpoint argument, in the following manner. You are expected to:

  • Begin this paper by stating your position on this question clearly and concisely
  • Citing appropriate sources, present the reasons why you take this position. Be sure to make the most effective case you can.
  • Then present the best evidence you can, again citing appropriate sources, against your position — that is, establish what counterarguments can be made to your original position.
  • Finally, review your original position in light of the counterarguments, showing how they are inadequate to rebut your original statement. By the end of your paper, you should be able to unequivocally re-affirm your original position.

You will be particularly assessed on:

  • Your ability to see what the module is all about and to structure your paper accordingly.
  • Your informed commentary and analysis — simply repeating what your sources say does not constitute an adequate paper.
  • Your ability to apply the professional language and terminology of communications and information systems correctly and in context; you are expected to be familiar with this language and use it appropriately.
  • Your effective and appropriate use of in-text citations to the assigned readings and other source material to support your arguments. Refer to the Purdue University APA formatting and style guide (see required readings) for the proper formats. Ched
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