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To Catch a Moving Target

THE CHALLENGE: A major global energy company was required to report certain assets and liabilities to a government agency or face substantial penalties. An IT solution was already underway and had gone through several iterations over the past couple of years in one flavor or another. The budgets had been blown several times and expectations from the business were not being met. The requirements were a moving target and there was a sense of urgency to meet each requirement in a timely manner. The existing contract between the client and development vendor was vague and not detailed enough to ensure deliverables, and expectations were not being met by either party. After meeting with the key stakeholders, it was determined that due to changing regulations, scope creep and lack of fully defined skill set, the project was considerably over budget, consistently under-delivered and no end in sight.

THE PLAN: Bicycle Consulting Group was able to get the stakeholders to fully agree and sign off on the scope of the project in order to finish the project and implemented a strict change control process. The project was priced against the newly agreed scope with contingency built in. A milestone schedule was developed with payment terms attached to each of the milestones. Bicycle Consulting Group facilitated the negotiations between the legal teams of the client and vendor as well other stakeholders including the current development team, procurement and executive leadership. Terms were strict on delivery of the milestones with substantial penalties if a milestone was missed. Both the client and the vendor were now fully protected from scope creep from either side and deliverables were fully defined.

BOTTOM LINE RESULTS: Scope creep was managed with full transparency due to the change control process implemented. The milestone deliverables were met and if there was any deviation or slippage, it was fully documented as the risks or issues occurred to ensure no surprises to the team or stakeholders. If a change was needed that would push a milestone, it was fully agreed upon by all stakeholders before going forward to ensure full transparency. Both the development team and the business were fully accountable for their own tasks and dependencies on one another.

TAKE AWAY: Fully defining scope along with a strict change control process minimizes scope creep and budget impacts. Many corporate budgets are valid for a fiscal year and money cannot readily move from one budget year to the next. Solid budgeting skills and getting experts to provide estimates ensures accountability rather than “finger in the wind” guessing. Since the project was a compliance project, cost was secondary to meet the compliance expectation. However, this does not mean thorough PM methodologies should be disregarded or there is a continuous flow of funding for said project.

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