Scope Creep

You don’t have to spend much time in the education arena before you realize just how convoluted projects can become.  Whether you are assisting with a technology implementation or helping design a dismissal process, the simple fact that schools are generally underfunded and therefore under supported creates a reality that every project unearths undiscovered needs that often demand attention.  As a project participant, you have a choice……… to wrap this new discovery into the scope of your project or to communicate the need to administration and leave the need untouched.

I think a great example of this reality can be shared through a project I am currently involved in.  Although I presently teach full time, I also lead the effort for technology implementation in my state for the Seventh-day Adventist school system where I am employed.  This effort began with a  proposal I made to my conference (statewide administrative agency).  The proposal was rather defined in nature, and was constituted by my undertaking of the following responsibilities:

  • Visiting schools in the conference who expressed the desire to start a 1 to 1 iPad program
  • Assist the school administrator by writing a technology improvement plan for them
  • Creating a presentation for the administrator which they could in turn utilize to present to their school board to obtain approval for the program, as well as to potential financial supporters to sell the concept
  • Create a technology purchasing plan for the school technology improvement plan
  • Create a training plan for the school
  • Support the administrator by making myself available to them for any questions that may arise

As I am presently in the second year of this effort, I have assisted 4 schools in this process, and will be visiting a 5th school in January of 2017.  One of the needs that has arisen as the project has gone on, is the need to have a more knowledgeable presentation to school boards to help gain approval initially for the program.  As such, I have had to modify the support I am providing to include school board presentations.  Although I would certainly consider this to be a great example of scope creep, I did determine it to be a necessary one.  The overall success of the program heavily depends on community support, it is essential that the school board not just approve the program, but fully understand the benefits of the program and support the fundraising and general direction the program offers.  This process of evaluating scope creep is the truly essential element that must be addressed in my opinion.  Every project will unearth undiscovered needs.  As in the example I am providing, some of those will necessitate a change in scope of the project.  It really depends on whether or not the resources available make the change in scope possible, as well as the level of commitment of the parties involved to the ultimate success of the project.

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