Thursday, June 9, 2011

Turtle Scope Creep

Scope Creep

My son’s Turtle seem not to be doing well. I have been doing my research on how to overcome whatever issues these Red Eared Sliders are having. I have resigned myself that they are in a tank too small for them. The Project is get them a new tank and relocate them to my office in the basement. Simple, just research the tank size and save some money and buy the tanks and maybe a stand.

We have a 29 gallon tank in my son's bedroom on his dresser/changing table. He is seven and does not require the use of this furniture anymore. In the course of my research I was going to go with a $400, 120 gallon tank. I brought this to my wife like I should learn not to do when I am the PM of this project. First part of scope creep, she said put them in the neighbors pond, we spend too much money on animals we cannot hold and play with. You will not spend $400 and that is final. I had forgotten my rule of ask for forgiveness not permission. She was mad and I said I would compromise but will not take my son’s pets from him. So now it is $190 75 gallon tank.

Next scope creep really hit hard and I question scope creep on this or just poor planning. I need a stand to place the tank on because the pet store owner said my old table won’t hold the weight. After more talking to him, he said I need to raise the tank on cement blocks just in case of water and also paint them. In this cast the “project strategy” was to move this to a high level, because moving a 75 gallon take with water would be next to impossible.

The third scope creep was when I involved and not clearly communicated to my boys what the project was and nothing else. We went to the pet store and it specializes in salt water aquariums. We looked around and both of the boys said “we will have an empty tank and mom will want to sell or get rid of it”. So now I am working on a change of scope document to better help the boys understand the time, money and energy that will go into doing this also with this project. As my wife says I’m a push over and I will do the salt water tank but in a different project. This is one aspect that really has not been addressed. Some of the scope creep can really become a new or different project.

The final scope creep came when I realized I need power to the area where I was putting the tank. This also became a high priority. At this time keeping my wife out of the loop and drawing from my kids as Dr. Stolovich suggests to draw from your team. We revamped our plan and eliminated most of the issue that could arise from the team and stakeholders. (The boys are 7 and 9)
I am the PM and a primary stakeholder, but I could have and should have mapped out the steps and priorities of the project. Laying out the priorities, budget, and steps for a project will eliminate most of scope creep, even in home projects.

Video Program: “Monitoring Projects”, Walden University, 2010

Video Program: “Practitioner Voices: You Can't Win Them All”, Walden University, 2010


  1. John
    Some of the most challenging and frustrating scope creep happens in our own home! Does the "ask forgiveness not permission" work for you most the time? It is typically not the best course of action in my "projects." One thing to remember is that as a PM we have the option of not doing the project based on the risks and potential and actual scope creep involved. As it said in our text, “Decide whether or not to undertake the project in the first place.” (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer & Sutton, 2008, p. 378) This may save us time, money and the embarrasing trip to the couch that night.

    Thanks for sharing your "project" and the risks involved. We feel your pain.


    Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

  2. It seems that one of the reasons you ran into your first piece of scope creep was because you hadn't figured out who your "stakeholders" were and who would be on your team yet, and by team I mean people who worked directly or indirectly with you to finish the project.
    You didn't decide in the beginning if you would get your wife involved or not. You said at one point how you almost wish you didn't get her involved. This could have been a route that you could have taken but it was to late by the time you realized it.

    It sounds to me like the biggest mistake you may have made was a lake of pre-planning. We learned early on in this course that advance planning is crucial to a project being a success with time and budget. You did mention and realize it at the end of your post by saying it would have helped to prevent your scope creep. I agree and took it even a step further on what pre-planning could have done for you with this project.

    Overall that sounded almost like a sweet innocent project that ended up turning into an unwanted mess. My post was similar in that none of the budget or time that I originally planned for the project went right. I also though that the job would be much easier than it was. I will remember to always plan extra money into the budget of a project from now on.

    Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.