The need for a new knowledge area. Is the sky the limit? So I was doing some PMP sample questions today and came across one where additional features were added to the final product and the customer is very pleased. The answer stated that this project was unsuccessful due to the addition of “gold plating”, which is a waste of time and cost. I think I misread the question because I thought “the project has added [this]” meant that the [this] = project’s intended product. There’s more to the story. It’s called gold plating. What is it? It’s when you add functionality or features without going through the change process. It’s unapproved scope creep usually created by the project team when it comes to “gold plating”. What is the reason for gold plating? Here’s a theory.

  • A member of the project team comes up with a new idea that will add value.
  • It is too difficult to imagine the idea of elevating it to the sponsor, project manager, or customer and then going through the change management process.
  • This is often referred to as scope creep and is therefore considered bad.
  • This is often not something that team members consider to be a “risk”.
  • If they did think of it, the word “risk” would be attached to it. This would give it a snowball’s shot – even more painful to bring to the project manager
  • So the team member “squeezes it in”
  • This could mean that other tasks aren’t given the attention they deserve.

The above scenario shows that there are no checks and balances about what adds value. What gets “gold plated?” It is usually only the projects that each member of the team finds “cool” or enjoys working on. It adds value to them. Is it adding value to the project’s? This underground method of doing it is not known by anyone. What if a team member decides not to think about it? There’s no scope creep and there’s no gold plating. You think that’s a good thing? Wrong! It is wrong! We need Opportunity Management. In the PMBoK guide opportunities are referred to as positive risks in the risk management knowledge area. This is a bad approach.

  • In practice, people immediately think negative when they hear the term “risk”.
  • Although there are many similarities in risk management, the expertise and processes required to deal with opportunities and risks can be very different.
  • When you are looking for business opportunities, there are many communication and business practices that will be involved.
  • There are tools and techniques that can be used to quantify the ROI of potential opportunities and then seek additional funding.
  • Documentation based on lessons learned that is specifically geared towards discovering opportunities
  • Transparency and increased focus in the process of identifying, evaluating and executing opportunities for all stakeholders during planning, execution, and closing a project.

Greg Balestrero CEO of PMI, was the first person I mentioned this to when the New Media Council met in Denver, CO. I made this comment to him as he was discussing the importance of project management in making positive environmental and social impact. I don’t know what he thought about the idea or if it’s a concern. I am sticking to my guns in calling for Opportunity Management to be added to the PMBoK. It might make it to the 5th edition. Consider your current or past projects.

  • Did you or someone else have an idea that would have added value to the customer or business?
  • Did it get shut down?
  • Do these people fear speaking up about the opportunities they are interested in?

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