How To: Using An A3S To Prevent Lean Project Scope Creep

How To: Using An A3S To Prevent Lean Project Scope Creep

Scope creep. It’s what turns a quick trip to Home Depot for updating the deck railings into building a new deck, a gazebo, and a renting a backhoe to start digging out a pool. While most of you probably do not perform deck repairs for your careers, the nuisance of scope creep is imminent in almost any project - regardless of size and industry.

Over the past few years of managing projects, I have discovered that developing a solid project charter in the early stages can help steer and keep focus on the task at hand. Ancillary problems and solutions are often discovered in the development stages and the project often becomes much bigger than you had initially envisioned. Let’s look at how the A3S (S stands for "Scope") document can help you stay on track.


Step 1: Players

The first section is used to identify the very high level theme and objective of the project as well as the key stakeholders, leaders, and team members.

Step 2: Purpose and Vision

The second part is the most important (I have found); the guiding light to the project. This section is intended to very concisely define the issue at hand, the end goal, and the value/ROI of the project. Clear and confident development of this section will act as a check against potential additions to the project and should be vetoed if does not help fulfill the vision and solve the problem.

Step 3: Current State – Future State

Step three is essentially elaboration and high level detail of what was entered in step 2. It is to capture the Voice of Customer, current state, and future state operations. Use this step to help convey what stakeholders are saying about the situation and their perceived challenges. Begin to define how you foresee the future state to alleviate the issues.

Step 4: Project Scope and Details

The final step is to document the elements of the project scope (in scope and out) as well as additional details regarding measurement, stake holders, deliverables, etc.

The project scope section is very important to update whenever decisions are made based on the Purpose and Vision in order to keep all members on track and aware of what may have already been discussed and evaluated.

While the scope should be defined early on and adhered to throughout the project, there may be cases to revisit; changing business conditions and initial oversights are two examples. Whenever making adjustments or taking on more work, make sure you are still solving the original problem. It is very possible that the solutions to other problems may be beneficial, but do they accomplish what you originally set out to do? Putting in a pool may add value to your home, but does it improve your deck railing?

Written by Jamil Afza, Lean Logistics Manager at LeanCor

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Posted by LeanCor Supply Chain Group

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LeanCor Supply Chain Group is a trusted supply chain partner that specializes in lean principles to deliver operational improvement. LeanCor’s three integrated divisions – LeanCor Training and Education, LeanCor Consulting, and LeanCor Logistics – help organizations eliminate waste, drive down costs, and build a culture of continuous improvement.

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