Currently, I am dealing with the perfect example of scope creep within a project. Due to my state standing strong with its push of the common core standards, our district has been changing some of the course objectives and goals. The fine arts are also in the initial stages of changing the content of our course to match the new national core arts standards that was just rolled out a month or so ago. With these two huge initiatives it seemed like the right time to reevaluate each of the classes we teach and the course objectives.
District 186 has six high school art teachers and we have started the process of working together to achieve these new standards and implement them into our classes. What started out strong and seemed most of us were heading in the right direction quickly changed. The art teacher that I working with in my building has been in the district the longest and took it upon herself to change the way we look at each high school. She thinks that we need to start our own Fine arts academy and have a high school geared towards the arts. A lot of this push from her stems around the huge budget cuts our district faces. This year we lost one art teacher and if things do not change financially in our state we may lose more. Her thought that if we have a fine art academy it will make it harder for our district to continue to cut the arts. She has brought school board members in and other content areas to try and make this happen. Another problem is that the art teacher has placed a mentality with the other art teachers of “either your with us or your against us” with the new school.
While I agree, a fine art academy would be huge for our district; it has definitely changed what we first set out to do. It is one thing to change the standards for some classes we teach, but it is another to change the entire culture in which we view our high schools. A project of this size could take years to implement as opposed to a few months with the standards.
Here is why this occurred. First, we do not have any project manager; it’s basically a free-for-all. We have a fine arts coordinator, but her expertise is in music and not visual art, so she tends to stay with the music side of things. As stated, Portny et. al. describes the (2008) “process leads to misunderstanding on the part of the party requesting the change, and before the project manager can undo the dam- age, the organization is committed to extending the scope of the project”(p. 346). This was done when school board members were brought in about the fine art academy without a discussion with the other art teachers and coordinator.
While I believe the idea of a fine art academy is great, I think it will eventually get squashed by board members due to funding. The biggest problem we face is all the time wasted with this and very little has been done with what we initial set out to do. With no true leader, I often times think I work in a modern day Game of Thrones.
Portny, Samuel E. Project Management: Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling Projects. John Wiley & Sons, 032007. VitalBook file.