I face a recurrent issue where actual work done for my projects by team constantly surpasses the planned work for the same. Primary reason being scope changes that leads to inclusion of new requirements.

I'm able handle this in terms of execution but of course it eventually leads to delays in subsequent planned projects.

My question is how can I keep track of all this to monitor the risks and for presentation/evidence later in case there are questions from higher management. I'm looking for a representation/tool to record this data (planned v/s actual time) for myself and project stakeholders. Or may be if you could just share how do you keep track of this?

I'm presently planning to use graphs (in Excel) comparing planned and actual work by manually taking data but it's a bit time consuming.

PS: I'm using Microsoft Project for planning but I'm not an expert in it. The solution doesn't needs to be restricted to Microsoft Project.


You don't need any of that; close your spreadsheets.

You need a change management process which include a governing body. Scope changes via new requirements is the type of change that would go through this process. If approved, you get a new plan. You get to rebaseline. You get more money. You get more time. What you have now is scope creep.

Therefore, after you get a set of new requirements, you update the plan and set a new baseline. Then, the so called delays you have are compared to the new baseline, not the old, and those delays go away, except for normal schedule variances caused by inherent risk in doing work.

Someone can chime in about Agile methods, which may help you, too. But you need a change management process either way.

  • 1
    Literally the best possible answer to this seminal question I could conceive. Shame I can only +1 it!
    – Marv Mills
    Jun 28 '14 at 15:42
  • 1
    Every change should be examined by relevant stakeholders to assess the impact on cost/scope/schedule. Changes that affect the project delivery should be explicitly and formally approved.
    – MCW
    Jun 30 '14 at 11:06
  • When executing with an agile mind set, change is welcome. Therefore any "change management process" should be lean (lightweight). Frameworks and processes that adhere to the agile values and principles do not have fixed long-term plans. Thus changes can have less impact, promoting competitive advantage. Apr 20 '17 at 0:06

This answere focuses on the question how to visualie actual vs. planned schedule:

MS Project allows to save a base line and let you draw the current schedule in compare to a saved base line. You will find a detailed description here: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/project-help/create-or-update-a-baseline-or-an-interim-plan-HA010156784.aspx

But as mentioned by others: implement a change management process...


Use a historical comparison of time/cost for features which endured scope creep versus features without scope creep for a side-by-side visualization. In addition, classify feature changes as on-the-job training:

In fact, on-the-job training (OJT) appears to be the norm across numerous organizations. Using OJT almost certainly yields a less than optimal result in the management and leadership of Agile efforts. A number of respondents reported a significant lack of training, which results in a "learning as you go" mentality.

This OJT is common across the stakeholders (contractors, DoD, and other stakeholders). A lack of understanding most often results in misallocation of resources, delays, cost overruns, and scope creep by stakeholders, all of which eat away at the efficiencies gained through the use of Agile implementations. Numerous respondents reported the efficiencies they gained were consumed and ultimately outpaced by the client demanding new features be added, over and over again.

Outlining the set of features as a table of contents and categorizing each scope change as a subsection under the original feature would also help quantify the impact.


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