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A stakeholder’s desire to increase project scope

A mini case study

You are working on a project to implement an online benefits management portal to enable employees to have a “one stop” location to view their health and dental benefits, get answers to benefits-related questions, and enable for changes to be made to health benefit coverage. Requirements were gathered over a two week time period at the start of the project and all stakeholders participated in requirements gathering sessions. The project is near completion – the portal has been developed by the IT/Application Development group. It has been tested, works well and will be rolled out early next week.

You are approached by a member of the senior leadership team who suggests that it would be of value to add in a component so that employees can also manage their 401Ks. In fact, he wants this to happen in time for this roll out.

What should you do?

Here is what you might do:  Obviously trying to add in the 401K component now is not a good idea. However, the idea of adding in this functionality is a good idea! As the project manager, talk to the stakeholder who desires this change and acknowledge it is a wonderful idea that will certainly be of value to the employees. However, to add it in now means that the following would have to occur:

  • The release date of the online benefits management portal will need to be delayed in order to develop and then test this addition to the portal. Releasing the new component before fully testing risks the success of the project.
  • IT/Application Development team members, who have been deployed to other projects, would need to be brought back to work on this component or additional resources will need to be found.

Suggest that the following may be options:

  • Hold the 401K component for a Phase 2 of the project.
  • Add in a link to the current 401K application so that employees can access that information from this portal.

By acknowledging that the idea is a great one, but needs time to be prepared to enable for success and suggesting some options enables the project manager to have a better conversation with the stakeholder and to ensure that the right approach is taken for this addition to the product.