Project Scope – A Personal Experience

12 06 2014

When I think about scope creep from a personal experience, I think about my experience working on a group project in my first Instructional design class at Walden.  Even though our group completed the assignment and prevailed in the end.  It was quite the learning experience.  In the beginning, we had a project manager who organized us and together we came up with a communication plan and work breakdown structure. Even though I did not recognize it at the time, we were walking through the different parts of project management!  Somewhere around the third week we lost communication with our project manager and we were lost for a good week or two trying to get back on track.  We also started to complicate the original objectives of the assignment because we had experienced team members with some ID experience under their belt that had the knowledge to complete the project at a more advanced level.  There were those of us like me who lacked ID experience and wanted to absorb the basic process.  “Another common source of change is the natural tendency of the client, as well as project team members, to try to improve the project’s output as the project progresses, a phenomenon known as scope creep” (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton and Kramer, 2008, p. 346).  It seemed without a solid project manager to keep us focused we had some group members lagging behind with their assigned contribution and others who did not stick to the objectives of the assignment.

Our project manager did not show up online until the last week, so we had to regroup in order to meet required deadlines.  Somehow, I always seem to get thrown into a group leader role and this project was no different. Lynch and Roecker (2007) explain that “Scope control involves trying to contain changes to project scope when that is possible and managing changes when they must occur.  When scope changes are unavoidable, the project manager should identify their impact on the project plan and obtain approval from the customer and sponsor” (p. 96).  I immediately drafted an email to the remaining group members summarizing our progress and re-establishing our communication plan.  Next, I asked for help from another group member who was diligent in his communication with me to help clarify the scope of our project and to light a fire under our other group members. According to Portny et. al., 2008), this is called corrective action.  I remember face-to-face group work in my undergraduate years being stressful and frustrating at times.  If you have ever tried online group work, then you can probably share how the stress and frustration level can be intensified.  Our group did managed to work through our schedule/resources lag, leadership change, and project focus by taking the right corrective action to get our project back on track in order to satisfy the project’s objectives and deadline.  Overall, I was pleased with final project we turned in to our instructor.


Lynch, M. M., & Roecker, J. (2007). Project managing e-learning: A handbook for successful design, delivery, and management. London: Routledge.

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.






6 responses

13 06 2014

Cheryl thanks for reminding us that during our EDCU-6100 course, we went through a project that was applicable to the concepts we are currently learning during this course. I too remember the frustration that took place trying to complete a project virtually; it was very crazy. Portny et. al. (2008) explained that controlling the project is one of the most basic operations of a project manager. It seemed that your project manager in your personal experience lack the ability to control a project in a virtual setting. Lack of control during a project in a virtual setting can really make the project team members feel as if they are lost in cyber world. I enjoyed reading your personal project scope experience!

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.

14 06 2014
Lisa Dagenais

I remember that class well and it still makes me cringe a little. I know were weren’t in the same group or even in the same class but our experiences sound similar. I think we probably all went through it in different groups and at different times. My class rotated the team leader position each week so just about when we all got used to a pattern it was someone else’s turn to take over. Having a consistent project manager that only served in that capacity might have been easier to deal with (Greer, 2010). I can’t think of any situation in real life that would use this model; the project manager has always been one consistent person, unless there is a staffing change of course. I’m glad it is behind us now.
My team had issues with the learning objectives right from the start; we really should have cleared those up before moving on because we continued to stumble. Not having clearly identified the objectives of the project can cause the team to veer off track the scope of the project was very broad and needed to be narrowed down as well (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton, & Kramer, 2008). In the end I was happy with the work we submitted however it was also the most stressful class in this whole curriculum; it is also the class where I learned the most though. I wonder if we had taken Project Management first if some of our issues would have been eliminated.

Greer, M. (2010). The project management minimalist: Just enough PM to rock your projects! (Laureate custom ed.). Baltimore: Laureate Education, Inc.
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.

15 06 2014

Thanks Tddiggs82 for your comments. Yes, I did remember feeling the lack of control in a virtual setting. Knowing what we have learned thus far in this project management course, I would have loved to take this course first.

15 06 2014

Thanks Lisa for sharing your comments! Yes, I agree the ID course was a difficult course and one where I learned a lot about the ADDIE Process, as well as working with virtual groups. You mentioned your team’s difficulty with the project’s learning objectives. Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton and Kramer (2008) lists vague objectives as a potential project pitfall. It is important for the team to be clear of the project’s objectives before they get too far into the project and run the risk of having to back track to firm up the objectives and lose valuable time and resources.

15 06 2014
Melissa Topinka

Hey Cheryl! I was an absolute wreck in that class! Everyone in our group was in a different time zone and was so worried that our PM would drop the ball. Luckily, our group had a really strong PM who had PM experience and she & I actually called each other every week to review the project together and see if there was any area of our project that was lacking. She did a great job in following up with everyone multiple times throughout the weeks if she had any questions or if we were on track, she would also seek our input on certain aspects of her role, which was a great way to keep us engaged and understand the big picture of PM. I will say, that though I had a positive experience in that class, I get nervous with every class at the thought there will be another group project. I realized I lucked out and not every group had a team or a PM as strong as ours. Thanks for sharing your experience!

16 06 2014
Charles Faison

Hi Cheryl, it seems like your MSIDT project team experienced quite the ordeal in completing your group assignment. However, it seems when you assumed the leadership responsibility, you had a plan from the start to get the team and project back on track; and, you executed it accordingly. You did an excellent job starting out with establishing the group communication protocol with a communication plan. According to Portny et. al (2008), “The key to successful project management is effective communication – sharing the right messages with the right people in a timely manner”. Thanks for sharing your experience.



Portny, S., Mantel, S., Meredith, J., Shafer, S., Sutton, M., & Kramer, B. (2008). Project Management: Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling Projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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