No gettin’ around it, an ever-present aspect of Web development within the insurance quoting and enrollment vertical is scope change — most commonly, scope enhancement. My experience is that even with the best project specifications, when you get in development, something invariably comes up that either IS or seems like a necessary inclusion into the current project. So how to handle this…

Firstly, right up front at the project Kickoff meeting, the ground rules need to be agreed upon regarding then-unknown items that might potentially come up during the development. Most Web-dev projects begin with items that have already been tabled for “Phase Two”, so an easy concept to gain agreement on is this: Anything that comes up during Phase One that’s not absolutely urgent will be earmarked for Phase Two, no matter who the idea comes from. Here’s the thing: If the scope isn’t controlled in this manner, including sometimes taking a hard line, the project can easily over-run boundaries in time and money. Then you have a perception problem, solutions aren’t being solved, etc., etc.. And if you do it once, that opens the door for the next item… and the next… etc.

But what if something comes up that DOES require inclusion in Phase One? This is where detailed documentation (developed on an urgent basis) is critical. What is the issue? Why is it critical? How will it impact the budget and timeline? Who is authorizing? How will it be integrated into the existing scope? If these items don’t get addressed immediately, what tends to happen is at the end of the project, stakeholders forget the scope change and wonder why the project took an extra xx weeks and cost $xx,000 more than budgeted.

These seem to be a couple of the bigger concepts… gtg to get something critical done…! :-)

Next week — the ever-popular discussion of landmines that derail projects. Should be fun!

Real quick… On a side note….

If you are ever in New England and want a refreshing, quick break from the grind, try the Inn at Jaffrey Center, located just east of Jaffrey, NH in the shadow of Mt. Monadnock — the second-most climbed mountain in the world. (Can you guess the first? Hints: ‘religious’ experience, densely populated area, NOT Mt. Everest…) Monadnock is a fun climb, especially in October – stunning arial view of the foliage in NH, VT, and MA! (I was there a couple weeks ago and took some pics…)