An important strategy to consider when undertaking a new project is to clearly identify and communicate the definition of your project. This usually starts by writing a problem statement, why it matters, and the goal or intended outcome. A key issue to consider as your project progresses is “Scope Creep”. Scope Creep is when outside influences affect what your project addresses and adds additional aspects to the scope and deliverable. This is a key issue that can often lead to programs never being completed, alienation of stakeholders, and never-ending projects. It is vital to the successful completion of large programs to communicate the problem, scope, and goal to the project stakeholders. (See Developing Team Roles & Responsibilities Post)
One tool to easily communicate what features, areas, or processes are in scope of your project and out of scope is the “In Frame/ Out of Frame” method. How we frame the problem will define the success and timeliness of outcomes.
How to Use it,
As seen in the above example, there are three loations to place factors,
- Inside the Frame: Factors in the frame are factors IN the scope of the program. These are factors you will be actively looking to influence or change through the course of solving the problem and reaching the goal.
- Outside the Frame: Factors outside the frame are factors OUT of scope for the program. These factors were specifically identified as some that may affect your challenge, but you have limited or no control on how to change or influence.
- On the Frame: Factors on the frame are factors that could be of significance to the success of the program, but will not be actively worked or investigated. In the case actions and/or improvements are identified within factors on the frame, leverage the appropriate stakeholder for executing initiatives
An effective and fast method to build the content in this tool, is to bring in the program team and stakeholders to identify factors and agree on thier placement. This activity will build agreement across the team on what this project IS and IS NOT.
Download a Free In Frame/Out of Frame Template
What if the Scope Needs Adjusting?
Just because an item is IN or OUT of frame, does not mean it must stay in this position. Factors may be adjusted from their original placement if they are identified as significant causal factors leading to the problem. However, if ANY adjustments are made to the scope of the program, the stakeholders must be in full agreement of the changes and communicate and potential changes in schedule. If the stakeholders are not on-board with the suggested change in strategy, then table the topic as a future initiative to launch or hand it over to the appropriate team to solve.