Contingency Plan, Scope Creep and Gold Plating in Project Management

Project Management Terms That Every Project Manager Should Know

Contingency plan The Contingency plan is an alternative plan in order to deal with identified risks when those risks will occur. When risk is identified and scaled, a contingency plan should be developed. You cannot create a contingency plan for unidentified or unknown risks since if you don’t know what the risk is, then it’s impossible to plan for it. The contingency plan shall be implemented once the identified risk will occur. In case that your contingency plan is ready, when things go wrong, instead of discussing alternative solutions and wasting time with your project team, you can quickly put the contingency plan in place. With no plan in place, you and your team have to think about what steps to take first. The contingency plan will help you respond quickly.

Fallback Plans: If the risk impact is high and your contingency plan is not working or failed to achieve the desired impact, then you need to put Fallback Plans (Plan B) in place. It is a back-up plan for the contingency plan.

Scope Creep: Uncontrolled changes are called scope creep. In case of scope creep; while the scope of the project changes; time and budget remain the same and a change leads another change. In the end, the project scope completely changes.

How Does Scope Creep Happen? It usually starts with a minor change request.  Such as the client wants more functionality with the same price or a team member wants to add value to the product. Those people may think that this change will not create any big impact and can somehow tolerate. Then another change comes up and another… In order to avoid scope creep, to be sure that the Project Scope Statement which is written in the planning stages of the project is well understood and agreed to by all stakeholders. The communication among the project team members is also very crucial.

Gold Plating: Gold plating refers to offering customers extra functionality and features without checking the impact, although they are not in the scope. For example; to provide additional features even though there is no demand from the customer… (Better performance, better quality product than demanded). However, such initiatives are not reflected to the customer as an additional cost but creates negative impact on the duration and cost of the project. Unlike scope creep, the project’s planned scope never changes with gold plating.

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