Beware of Assumptions!

Lee is a project management professional with 10+ years experience in various industries.

You all know what assume makes out of “u” and “me.” This old adage stays true to this day, and is very applicable to the business world. Assumptions are some of the biggest culprits in scope creep, misunderstandings and successful projects being declared failures. This article will provide examples of each--and ways to take the assumptions out of the picture and make your project a success.

Assumptions in scope creep sometimes happen by accident, such as when a user forgets to tell you about a particularly important piece of functionality. They sometimes happen maliciously, as in the case of a sponsor trying to squeeze in programming that would never have been approved if presented to senior management up front.

In the first (non-malicious) case, the way to battle assumption-related scope creep is through questioning early in the project. Question the sponsor, their direct reports and most importantly other stakeholders. For example, a sponsor from the operations department asks for screen changes and a few reports. Make sure to question stakeholders from the marketing and relationship management departments. They may uncover hidden requirements that would surely lead to scope creep upon project implementation. Also, question the sponsor’s direct reports (diplomatically, of course). Often, they are aware of steps in the process that their …

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"The reason why worry kills more people than hard work is that more people worry than work."

- Robert Frost