Want to Deliver Impactful Projects? Start with Your Scope Management

In early October 2021, I had the opportunity to represent North Highland at the Business Analysis Summit Southern Africa. Every year, they have a range of ‘tracks’—different perspectives on the theme of business analysis and evolution:

  1. The Innovator – Listen to what’s new and trending
  2. The Collaborator – Learn new ways of connecting the dots
  3. The Evolutionary – Listen to industry trailblazers
  4. The Transformer – Engage and build your ‘next’

I was aligned to track number four, a perfect result for a representative of the leading change and transformation consultancy. Here are a few of my insights from the inspiring two-day conference.

The reasons behind transformation project scope creep

With my speaking slot, I wanted attendees to reimagine the possibilities for change through the customer, workforce, and operational lenses. At North Highland, we strongly believe that this is needed to create truly dynamic transformation strategies that unlock unlimited potential.

My particular focus was on the business analyst’s role in scope management—a relevant topic as most scope creep occurs because of a lack of stakeholder agreement, an inconsistent understanding, or a lack of pre-work analysis in the scope’s development. Indeed, the 2020 CHAOS Report identified that only 32% of projects are delivered on time, on budget, and with the required features and functions. This proves solutions are not ‘consistently’ matching the business need and project scope.

The answer? Collaborating with business stakeholders and the technical team to define a clear scope definition and mitigate the risk of scope creep.

My key takeaways for effective scope management

I want BAs to feel empowered to bring about project success, help improve project delivery by asking the right questions, and increase the speed, efficiency, and flexibility of their projects. So, I shared learnings from my time in the role.

First, effective business analysis relies on dynamic, visual models and perspectives. The ‘visual’ part here is key. My session outlined a visualization technique using the context model. It drives business change by helping stakeholders reach a consensus on the purpose, value, and milestones of change projects.

One of the keyways to set and manage scope is to use a context model. It can be used at the strategic, program or project levels.  It is intended to be continually reviewed and revised as new information is known or when possible scope changes occur.

The Scope Context Model describes the intended business change by helping stakeholders understand:

  • How the solution contributes to the goals of the organization
  • The expected, provable measures that indicate solution success
  • When the solution is considered done
  • Who will be consulted for requirements information
  • Systems which might be impacted (or needed) by the proposed change
  • Users of the intended solution and how they will interact with it
  • Key assumptions, constraints and out of scope considerations

And secondly, you can’t underestimate the importance of passion and purpose. Both can enable accuracy and ensure effective communication, and support collaboration between teams and stakeholders all the way through from the project’s beginning to its end.

With this new understanding, it’s my hope that attendees will be in a better position to achieve agreed-upon outcomes, educate leadership, and accelerate the success of their next project… no matter what role they’re in. The feedback I’ve received justified my attendance (albeit at 4am EST).

My goal is to help unlock the secret to making projects relatable, understandable, and impactful.

To find out more about how North Highland can support your transformation journey, and place your people at the heart of it to drive lasting change, get in touch with a member of the team.