Mitigating Scope Creep in IT Project Management and Planning

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Mitigating Scope Creep in IT Project Management and Planning Introduction Of the many factors that can impact the performance of projects, the issue of scope creep is among the most insidious and difficult to stop once it begins. In an attempt to please as many stakeholders has possible, especially in enterprise software projects, project managers often will allow incremental additions to project plans and scope definitions (Sircar, Choi, 2009). As the scope of a project continually creeps wider, the project's plan and deliverable dates exponentially increase given dependencies on resources and previous tasks being completed (Zhu, Li, Wang, Chen, 2010). In addition to these time drains, scope creep will often cost the typical enterprise software project millions of dollars, lost credibility of the initiative within the broader enterprise, and paradoxically, lack of original project completion due to the project trying to increasingly be all things to all stakeholders (Zhu, Li, Wang, Chen, 2010). The hard reality is that scope creep, while well-intentioned at the time to placate stakeholders, often leads to cost and project overruns (Sircar, Choi, 2009). As Baker and Greer have stated in their best practices, there are specific strategies and approaches to minimizing scope creep and keeping project review cycles on track to fulfillment (Baker, Greer, 2011). The authors use a series of examples of how complex Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are to implement,
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