A few practical ideas to avoid scope creep in Integrated Business Planning implementations.  

February 6, 2023 
Author: Diego Rossenblum 

Defining a clear project scope is a critical step in avoiding scope creep in any project, including the implementation of Integrated Business Planning (IBP). Here are some best practices for defining a clear project scope: 

1) Involve the right stakeholders: gather input from all relevant stakeholders, including the planners, business leaders, to ensure that all perspectives are taken into account when defining the project scope. Consider starting from a best practice process definition and identify with the main process actors the required deviations from the best practice: put more effort in documenting the deviation from the best practice and make sure you document the reason why your business requires a different approach. 

2) Use a project charter and standard documentation tools, such as process swim-lanes: Develop a project charter that outlines the project goals, objectives, and deliverables. Use graphical process representation and avoid long, verbose documents that usually only a few people have time to read and comprehend.  

3) Define project boundaries: Clearly define the project boundaries, including what is in and what is out of scope. This will help to prevent new requirements from being added to the project during the implementation phase, without proper budget allocation. 

4) Be specific: Use specific, measurable, and achievable language when defining the project scope. This will help to ensure that everyone has a common understanding of what is expected from the project. 

5) Document the scope: Document the project scope and ensure that it is reviewed and approved by all the stakeholders that have decision role. Surface to the project owners any dissenting argument so that they can handle the Organizational Change Management in the proper way. This documentation should be regularly reviewed and updated as necessary to ensure that it remains relevant throughout the project. 

6) Include in the business process definition (the scope) a rigorous analysis of the data structure required to manage the IBP process with a large volume of data: often sub-processes ignore the data structure availability, requiring future re-work for adapting the available data structure to the to-be process. 

7) When complex calculations are required in the scope (i.e. in case requirements of Supply Chain Optimization) make sure you have a set of reference examples to compare against when testing the quality of the solution. 

8) Consider providing a specific training on the technology chosen to support the business process prior to the blueprint phase: planners used to work following older paradigms may not be able to envision what is possible nowadays. 

By following these best practices, you can help to ensure that your project has a clear and well-defined scope, which will reduce the risk of scope creep and increase the chances of successful project completion. 

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