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There would be a mix of education and experience, as with most knowledge gained in life that is applied to our daily job.
One approach is to ensure there is alignment upfront from key stakeholders on your project vision and expected outcomes. If you don't have that, it's easy for scope to creep (or leap) based on the needs and desires of individual stakeholders. If you do have that, it provides a unifying constraint on what changes make sense.
Anything that impact Scope need to be in writing!
There is one and only one rule that works: following a Change Management Process. In the case of projects, you will follow a Project Change Management Process that is a subset of the organization´s change management process. That´s all you need to keep the project scope.
Thanks for your reply. Are you speaking of a formal change management process? For an example, lets say some construction materials(IE different quality of steel) are requested to be changed shortly after the project begins. Where would you start?
Watch out for casual conversations between team members and stakeholders. Team members, eager to please, may agree to "minor" changes because they "make sense." If the formal change control process is not followed, ramifications of that "minor" change will not be analyzed. While you may not be able to keep your team members from interacting directly with your customer (or major stakeholders), you should be sure you are involved or aware of these interactions. You, as project manager, should own the relationship with your customer. Make Change Control an agenda at each team meeting to be sure you've caught all requests no matter how minor or casually made.
Following a formal Change Management Process will help.
A good Project Manager knows his Contract and Scope of Work intimately. It is his/her job to confirm that the staff and Designers are following PM direction and not giving in to "Scope Creep", especially within the EPC Contract environment.
The PMBOK Guide will not be a resource for these skills due to the lack of Contract information. You must learn this skillset as a Practicing Professional Project Manager.
In my world, a PM must be an expert on 2 items not covered by PMBOK- Safety and Contracts.
I hope this guidance "from the trenches" helps!
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