Many businesses dread taking on an IT project because their experience with them in the past involved problems, delays, and cost overruns. The common culprit in failed projects is often referred to as scope creep when the original focus of the project is thrown off course by unexpected and sometimes unrelated issues. These problems may seem to negate the benefits that the project was intended to deliver.

Scope creep does not have to derail a project, though. Here are three steps that can prevent scope creep from affecting the success of your IT project.

Plan Well

One of the causes of scope creep is an incomplete or faulty scope of work. Carefully plan the scope of work to include every single thing that will be required to bring the project to completion. Anything that takes time or costs money needs to be included. Investigation of the IT environment is vital, too. Understand exactly what is being changed, and ensure that all the required components, software, and tools are the correct versions for the plan. Ensure that they will all work together as planned.

Anticipate the Unexpected

Build into the project plan the mechanism for dealing with things that could not be anticipated. This includes a change management strategy. Changes that are necessary to bring the project to fruition will need to be addressed, hopefully without affecting the budget or schedule. Requested changes that are not necessary to the project need to be designated out of scope and not be allowed to derail the project.

Have Regular Milestones to Check Progress

The worst time to have to deal with scope creep is at the end of the project. A proper project plan will have specific milestones and expectations with regard to schedule and budget. This way, if the budget or the schedule is threatened, it can be detected at the milestone level and possibly mitigated before the whole project is affected.

It’s one thing to have technical skills but executing a successful IT project takes IT project management skills. Many businesses don’t tackle IT projects often enough to have the insight necessary to properly plan an IT project.

Your company cannot afford to stand still on technology, and it can’t afford to have a poorly designed IT project disrupting the operation either. Clare Computer Solutions has been doing IT projects for over 25 years and we can help you design a project, implement it and manage it. We’ll get it done on time, and on budget.