W5 Discussion – PM Topic Literature Gap and Future Research
1. Primary Post: Post at least one primary response.
A minimum of two responses to fellow students must be posted on separate days by midnight (EST) Sunday. This will earn you a grade of B. You must exceed the minimum to earn full credit.
In the first four weeks, you identified a topic of interest and some preliminary questions you wanted to investigate. Also, you have read in the related literature about what other researchers have done to address your questions by reading and summarizing the findings of at least fifteen peer-reviewed papers. In this week’s discussion, you will need to identify unresolved issues related to your topic of interest and question/s (literature research gap) and refine your original question/s. This means you will have to critique the research literature you have reviewed to identify possible research literature gap/s. In doing so, it would be best if you address the following questions:
What do you already know about your chosen topic?
What do you not know about your chosen topic?
What has not been explored or underexplored in the related research literature about your chosen topic?
What aspect/s of your chosen topic and original questions remain unanswered?
2. Secondary Responses: Post at least two of your secondary responses to other students’ discussions. Please provide your feedback on their topics by asking questions and critiquing the investigation for any two primary posts.
PM Topic Literature Gap and Future Research
From what I have gathered and the information that my peers have shared with me these past weeks in our discussion board, we have all reached consensus that scope creep is preventable. The techniques and methods that are used to prevent scope creep vary, for example, one of my peers shared that by conducting a thorough requirements elicitation, scope creep could be prevented. Another peer shared that a work breakdown structure would be the best way to avoid scope creep. I’ve learned that even though there are various methods and techniques to be applied, in general, proper scope management is what prevents scope creep all together. By now I know that effective communication, project transparency, a defined scope and stakeholder involvement are all key in preventing scope creep.
I still do not know in what phase of a project does scope creep occur the most. I would like to further dissect and research when scope creep happens, is it during the execution phase? Or does it occur more during the controlling phase? I think that by understanding when scope creep happens, project managers will be proactive in earlier phases to prevent it. Aizaz et al., (2021) share “If the creep factors are highlighted in the design phase, such factors’ negative impact can be reduced.” Though the design phase is mentioned and highlighted as a time where scope creep can be prevented, I will conduct further research this week that focuses on the timeframe relating to scope creep, using real-life scenarios. I believe that by exploring the failures of scope management, I will be able to assess why scope creep occurs, how to prevent it and what to do in the event that it can’t be prevented.
Two of my questions have been answered throughout the research I have conducted. These included: How should a PM handle scope creep? Is scope creep preventable? However, I want to embark on an in-depth investigation about the methods to prevent scope creep and what other types of “creep” can arise. As I researched, I found that similar types of “creep” can occur throughout the project life cycle, including stakeholder creep. Panyard et al., (2018) share “While project scope ambiguity (often called “scope creep”) is a well-recognized risk factor, ambiguity about which stakeholders need to be involved in a project, or “stakeholder creep”, has not been formally recognized among risk factors influencing the success of clinical informatics projects, although it is an issue many practitioners and HIT staff know from experience.” In conclusion, I believe that my research has been very complete and well-rounded but there are still details that need more attention.
Aizaz, F., Khan, S. U., Khan, J. A., Inayat-Ur-Rehman, & Akhunzada, A. (2021). An empirical investigation of factors causing scope creep in Agile Global Software Development Context: A conceptual model for project managers. IEEE Access, 9, 109166–109195. https://doi.org/10.1109/access.2021.3100779
Panyard, D. J., Ramly, E., Dean, S. M., & Bartels, C. M. (2018). Bridging clinical researcher perceptions and health IT REALITIES: A case study of stakeholder creep. International journal of medical informatics. Retrieved, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5769155/
I’ve discovered over the past few weeks of studying requirements elicitation (RE) that the causes behind failures is well understood and falls often within the nebulous topic of communication break-down (Walker, 2013). Project managers and teams are very much able to analyze the communication problem set, but seem unable to pinpoint a precise cause.
This is one of the major reasons why I believe scope creep exists. The literature reviews have provided communication break-down reasons stemming from the customer lacking an understanding of what they truly want (Davey & Parker, 2015) to changes in the operational environment. However, I still cannot find where the literature articulates a main underlying cause for RE failures and that’s why it continues to happen. There is no ‘single reason’ and the human mind has difficulty dealing with the abstract.
What I’d like to see explored is a concept that is more foundational. None of the literature I could find delves into the cognitive frameworks from which project managers, teams, and sponsors hail. When organizations hire people and build teams, they do so (even if not consciously) from a view of “How much like us is this potential employee?”. For instance, the military has onboarding requirements (background checks, drug tests, mental acuity tests) to get recruits in the door.
However, from what I have seen, the retention aspect leans heavily on the “how much like us” is this person? Team members who act, operate, and think like the collective are more likely to stay. This means that long-term employees may likely have the same or similar cognitive processing capabilities which means they may not see the gaps in processes like RE. They haven’t been trained to think or reason differently because “different is bad”.
I’ve worked with several intelligence analysts over the years from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Those of us who remain tend to have similar cognitive processes and those that don’t, leave. Therefore, we lose out on the unique perspectives of those cognitively diverse folks and fall into the same communication or logic traps when it comes time to plan projects…especially those well outside our critical thinking wheelhouse.
Thus, I think the link between cognitive diversity as it applies to communication within project requirements elicitation should be studied more.
Davey, B., & Parker, K. (2015). Requirements elicitation problems: A literature analysis. Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology, 12, 71-82. Retrieved from http://iisit.org/Vol12/IISITv12p071- 082Davey1929.pdf
Walker, L. W. (2013). Requirements—shmirements!: let’s just do it! Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2013—North America, New Orleans, LA. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.