How To Overcome Sneaky Scope Creep in eLearning

It’s all about controlling your eLearning development project, rather than letting it control you!

‘Scope creep’ is a term used to describe the expansion of a project outside of the planned objectives. It’s an inherent risk in any eLearning development project. Scope creep can originate from several sources, and it’s often very sneaky – if you’re not watching closely it tends to happen quietly without you realising before it’s too late.

You must take measures to control scope creep and to ensure that you and your team don’t fall victim to its results, which will usually include delays on your deadline and budget blowouts.

On a more positive note, the effects of scope creep are not always negative, depending on your situation. Sometimes, through the design and development process (or through consultation with your stakeholders), you will change the project’s scope to include new features that you hadn’t originally considered. That’s fine, but usually you can’t change things like your budget or your timeline so you have to weigh up the pros and cons when you identify a scope creep.

Here are some strategies you can follow to keep scope creep from derailing your projects.

1. Project Objectives

Be sure you thoroughly understand the project objectives. Meet with the project’s stakeholders and/or your project management group and deliver an overview of the project as a whole for their review and comments. This will reveal any misunderstandings about what your project will deliver and provide an opportunity to refine the timeline or budget if required, prior to starting work on the development of your resource.

2. Priorities

Understand your priorities and the priorities of your stakeholders. This will help you make decisions about how far or by how much the original project scope can change.

3. Deliverables

Define your deliverables and have them approved by your stakeholders. Make sure you all agree on delivery dates for these, so that the design and development team understands how much time they have to spend on different elements of the production process.

4. Work Requirements

Break the deliverables into actual work requirements. The requirements should be as detailed as necessary and can be completed using a simple spreadsheet. The larger your project, the more detail you should include. Be sure to establish achievable goals.

5. Milestones

Break the project down into major and minor milestones and complete a project schedule to be approved by your stakeholders. Whatever your method for determining task duration, leave room for error. When working with unknown staff, be generous in your time allocation as new people may take a little while to reach a 100% productivity rate.

6. Timeline/Schedule

Make sure that everyone on your design and development team is aware of the project’s timeline/schedule, and the deliverables it needs to meet. Communicate regularly with your team about how things are progressing.

7. Stakeholders

Get all your stakeholders on board from at the start. Monitor the work being done by your project team, to ensure that they are staying ‘on track’ and not designing or developing material/s that are more complex or time consuming than they need to be.

8. Review

Before starting to develop the eLearning its important to get the content reviewed by all the stakeholders. Some changes halfway through building the course could have a major impact on time.

Choosing the right eLearning partner with extensive experience in managing projects is also important to ensure your project runs smoothly. For information about our content development please visit our page or contact us to discuss your requirements.

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