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Topics: Estimating, PMO, Scope Management, Using PMI Standards
Gold Plating
As you are all aware, PMI does not allow Gold Plating when additions are outside the scope of the project whether it has positive or negative effects on the project.

From you experience, did it ever happen in any of your projects that the customer, major shareholder or client requested to additional scope outside the original scope ? If yes, how did you solve this issue ?

I would like also to know if any of you every accepted any additional scope outside the original scope under special circumstances.
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When working with government institutions in a country like Kosovo, there are some incompetent people (employed by politics) who do not clearly understand projects and gold plating.

Trying to make themselves important, for example, they ask for more and more software features that are out of original scope. Most of times you have to implement those features otherwise the entire project may fail.
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1 reply by Rami Kaibni
Jan 08, 2016 2:50 AM
Rami Kaibni
...
Hi Sabedin,
It is unfortunate to heat so because for sure it will affect the budget and schedule. What does the Project Managers usually do in this case ?
Jan 08, 2016 2:37 AM
Replying to Sabedin Meha
...
When working with government institutions in a country like Kosovo, there are some incompetent people (employed by politics) who do not clearly understand projects and gold plating.

Trying to make themselves important, for example, they ask for more and more software features that are out of original scope. Most of times you have to implement those features otherwise the entire project may fail.
Hi Sabedin,
It is unfortunate to heat so because for sure it will affect the budget and schedule. What does the Project Managers usually do in this case ?
...
1 reply by Sabedin Meha
Jan 08, 2016 3:30 AM
Sabedin Meha
...
Yes it affects both budget and schedule. Most of the times we try to complete existing project (software development and implementation) and hope to win next contract (software upgrade and maintenance) since we are developers of original software and so we have advantage over other companies. It looks like gambling but you have to take a risk, otherwise you are out of market :)
Jan 08, 2016 2:50 AM
Replying to Rami Kaibni
...
Hi Sabedin,
It is unfortunate to heat so because for sure it will affect the budget and schedule. What does the Project Managers usually do in this case ?
Yes it affects both budget and schedule. Most of the times we try to complete existing project (software development and implementation) and hope to win next contract (software upgrade and maintenance) since we are developers of original software and so we have advantage over other companies. It looks like gambling but you have to take a risk, otherwise you are out of market :)
...
1 reply by Rami Kaibni
Jan 08, 2016 3:52 AM
Rami Kaibni
...
I hear you Sabedin - Thanks for your input and Good Luck :-)
Jan 08, 2016 3:30 AM
Replying to Sabedin Meha
...
Yes it affects both budget and schedule. Most of the times we try to complete existing project (software development and implementation) and hope to win next contract (software upgrade and maintenance) since we are developers of original software and so we have advantage over other companies. It looks like gambling but you have to take a risk, otherwise you are out of market :)
I hear you Sabedin - Thanks for your input and Good Luck :-)
Rami, I tend to also have the same perspective as Sabedin and its just not in Kosovo, have seen many projects that gets gold plated for similar reason, either you do it or else the competition will do it. At the end one tends to make sacrifice at places where it beats the code of ethics as well. Survival :(
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1 reply by Rami Kaibni
Jan 08, 2016 4:07 AM
Rami Kaibni
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Thanks for your input Kiran. I understand you point of view totally.

In cases like these, do you try to convince the client to take this additinal scope as a new project instead of adding it to the current project amd disturbing the estimates and baselines ? If not, then do you reestimate everthing and ask for extension ?
Jan 08, 2016 4:04 AM
Replying to Kiran Kumar
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Rami, I tend to also have the same perspective as Sabedin and its just not in Kosovo, have seen many projects that gets gold plated for similar reason, either you do it or else the competition will do it. At the end one tends to make sacrifice at places where it beats the code of ethics as well. Survival :(
Thanks for your input Kiran. I understand you point of view totally.

In cases like these, do you try to convince the client to take this additinal scope as a new project instead of adding it to the current project amd disturbing the estimates and baselines ? If not, then do you reestimate everthing and ask for extension ?
it also depends Rami on how good one has done the stakeholder management part. So in some cases it is easy to convince the customer of either putting this in via additional scope with proper estimate on cost and time OR ask them of getting it done as a wave 2 deployment.

However, some stakeholders it is not possible, so what we do is ensure the risk related to lower quality of the end product is documented and put it within the steering committee. Depending on the size of the steering committee it is sometimes resolved within it and if not we just do it. There is no other alternative, but you would inform your organization of the risks associated as the timeline moves, the quality will impact and at the end relationship strains
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1 reply by Rami Kaibni
Jan 08, 2016 4:27 AM
Rami Kaibni
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I bet this should be a very tough situation to balance. I personally experienced what you've mentioned in the first paragraph and most of the time resolved them by doing additional scope as a separate project or if client persists, we re-plan, estimate and schedulecsnd submit change order to the client but of course higher management should be in the loop besides the PM and Sponsor.
As you said, in theory, PM should not allow scope creep. However, in order to enhance stakeholder satisfaction, especially the customer/client, I won't mind some gold plating if it does not cause major impact to the budget and delivery outcome. If it causes big impact to outcome, then "NO" because it is deemed to failure if "Yes" anyway. I believe people normally respect professionalism of a PM; otherwise it is a bully! Well, it is an art of management, isn't it?
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4 replies by Dominic Law, Kiran Kumar, Rami Kaibni, and Suhail Iqbal
Jan 08, 2016 4:29 AM
Rami Kaibni
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You got that right: It is an art of management Dominic. You should be creative.

I just have a small question: Even if it is small impact, how do you justify the additonal scope and its impacts ?
Jan 08, 2016 4:33 AM
Kiran Kumar
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Dominic, I wouldn't certainly call it bully, these are more cultural things. If it is bullying we were easily able to solve it via the management as usually bullies are 1/ 2 persons. Sometimes it is a cultural thing, and it very common in some places of the world. So as you start a new project you are mostly notified by your management of the issues and you always keep an eye out for it.

Rami, on this front, it is just not gold platting, because you go into these places to do projects, the PM's usually tend to add lot of buffers (cost and time) so that even if there is gold platting it can be covered. So you see one issue leads to another and spoils the whole thing
Jan 08, 2016 8:00 PM
Dominic Law
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I had worked in a culture in which gold plating is more or less expected from the client. I normally have some reserves in risk management for that. So if the impact can be covered by the reserves, then I can choose to take it up.
Jan 11, 2016 4:31 AM
Suhail Iqbal
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I do not think a wrong can sometimes be called right and so it becomes right. It is not only PMI cautioning us against Gold Plating and Scope Creep, the whole history of project management is filled with failures rooted in these evils. How can someone even try to justify gold-plating? Stakeholder Satisfaction does not allow for gold plating, it allows for proper change management procedures amending the scope and thus inclusion of requirements, which in my opinion, cannot be called as gold-plating. Gold-Plating is something which is not in scope, not officially asked for, and still is included in the product, maybe due to scope creep or some unknown pressures. This is explicitly NOT allowed and can never be justified. When we have a method to cater for scope changes, then how can one allow gold-plating or scope creep?
Jan 08, 2016 4:21 AM
Replying to Kiran Kumar
...
it also depends Rami on how good one has done the stakeholder management part. So in some cases it is easy to convince the customer of either putting this in via additional scope with proper estimate on cost and time OR ask them of getting it done as a wave 2 deployment.

However, some stakeholders it is not possible, so what we do is ensure the risk related to lower quality of the end product is documented and put it within the steering committee. Depending on the size of the steering committee it is sometimes resolved within it and if not we just do it. There is no other alternative, but you would inform your organization of the risks associated as the timeline moves, the quality will impact and at the end relationship strains
I bet this should be a very tough situation to balance. I personally experienced what you've mentioned in the first paragraph and most of the time resolved them by doing additional scope as a separate project or if client persists, we re-plan, estimate and schedulecsnd submit change order to the client but of course higher management should be in the loop besides the PM and Sponsor.
Jan 08, 2016 4:21 AM
Replying to Dominic Law
...
As you said, in theory, PM should not allow scope creep. However, in order to enhance stakeholder satisfaction, especially the customer/client, I won't mind some gold plating if it does not cause major impact to the budget and delivery outcome. If it causes big impact to outcome, then "NO" because it is deemed to failure if "Yes" anyway. I believe people normally respect professionalism of a PM; otherwise it is a bully! Well, it is an art of management, isn't it?
You got that right: It is an art of management Dominic. You should be creative.

I just have a small question: Even if it is small impact, how do you justify the additonal scope and its impacts ?
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