Do you often find your perfectly planned project turn into your worst nightmare? This could be due to the addition of project requirements by your project stakeholders. Not only does it negatively impact your progress but also your time and budget management. Scope Creep is the silent killer of project managers everywhere.
In this article, we will explore the basics of Scope Creep, when it occurs, and how you can prevent it.
What is Scope Creep?
Most successful teams work by defining their project’s goals, assigning tasks, and establishing parameters. This is called the project’s scope.
However, as a project manager, you need to note that project progress may be affected due to unforeseen situations. This may include external factors or your team facing various challenges, to name a few. It is a reality that you must plan for in advance.
Scope creep refers to how the requirements of a project increase over the project’s duration. For instance, a project with five key deliverables may turn into one with ten. It usually occurs either due to varying project requirements by stakeholders or due to miscommunication.
Potential Causes of Scope Creep
1. Unclear Scope:
Commencing a project with a vague scope can be detrimental for you and the stakeholders involved. It is just like driving from one city to another without any clear directions or planning in advance.
Failure to define your scope can result in extra resources, additional cost, and time to complete your project. Project management ensures that your scope is on track and you don’t miss anything essential.
Additionally, it allows you to keep your team updated on project progress, thus guaranteeing that you complete your project within budget and on time.
2. A Tendency to Overdeliver:
Some development teams are prone to overdelivering and add extra features and functions in hopes of impressing the client.
While striving to do your best work is commendable, going overboard can easily derail a project. Not only does this consume budget and time but it does not guarantee the client’s satisfaction.
It is your duty as a project manager to supervise your team members and ensure that time and resources aren’t being wasted on tasks outside the project scope.
If you observe this happening then having an honest talk with your team can be helpful. You can appreciate them for their initiative but also mention the importance of completing tasks within the allotted timeframes and budget.
3. Poor Management:
One of the main causes of scope creep is poor project management. It may include management’s failure to submit ways to categorize additional requirements of the project. If these requirements pile up, they can have a detrimental effect on the project’s progress.
Moreover, management that doesn’t track team performance will result in resource depletion and time-wasting. Also, management must be in control of decision making since having various decision-makers is a recipe for disaster.
4. External Factors:
Finally, scope creep can also occur due to external factors like stakeholders changing project requirements mid-project. This is prevalent either if your stakeholders are uninvolved or the project is not their area of expertise.
Now that we have discussed common causes of Scope Creep, let’s jump into five ways you can manage it.
5 Easy Steps to Manage Scope Creep
1. Set Clear Project Goals:
As stated earlier, scope creep occurs due to unclear scope, thus clearly outlining project goals can help manage it. Establishing realistic and attainable goals is essential for successful project management. In order to keep your team on track and achieve targets define goals. This will minimize scope creep.
In this regard, Client Buddha with its built-in-calendar will help you ensure that nothing important slips through the cracks. You can easily stay on top of all your meetings, essential tasks, and due dates as these are automatically synchronized with your Google Calendar. It also comes integrated with Zoom right out of the box, so you can instantly schedule meetings with your clients and employees.
2. Plan Your Outcomes:
Although goals are essential, they alone can’t make a project successful. Planning with actionable steps can help you move from an initial idea to a finished project and avoid scope creep in the process.
Not only will planning help you focus on the essential task but it will also ensure that your team is on the same page. Also, it will minimize revisions and last-minute changes from both stakeholders and upper management. Thus ideas generated after the finalized plan will be beyond the scope.
It is recommended that you produce a project initiation document that states deliverables and the outcome. It could also mention what is in scope and out of it. Your client must read your document and after you have an agreement, you should create a to-do-list.
You can easily create smart-to-do-lists in Client Buddha. These not only help boost your team’s focus and organization but also let you assign one-time or recurring tasks to fellow members, track project progress, and remind you of your assigned tasks.
3. Define Scope Creep Progress:
Note that sometimes scope creep is unavoidable. Maybe your client had a midnight epiphany and is adamant about additional widget features despite the extra cost. Therefore, you and your team must prepare to tackle scope creep.
We have compiled a list of the standard processes but feel free to tweak it according to your business requirements. This simple list will prevent you from excessive hassle during project revisions:
- A particular form should be completed to record request changes in writing.
- Change Requests must be carefully analyzed and scope creep level must be comprehended by management.
- Next, these changes must be approved by your stakeholder or your upper management.
- Finally, Scope changes should be approved in writing.
You can effectively communicate these changes with your team using the productivity module in Client Buddha. This module provides you an intuitive kanban view of your project. You can instantly create tasks, configure their priority and costs, and assign them to relevant team members in just a few clicks.
Moreover, you can enhance collaboration by sharing files, notes, feedback, and comments with both your team members and clients.
4. Communicate Effectively:
As a project manager, it is your responsibility to get work done which requires clear communication of work expectations. If there’s a change in scope then you must communicate constructively with your client stating how it will affect the project deadline and budget.
Client Buddha fares well in this regard as well as it lets you engage everyone including employees, stakeholders. With its built-in chat feature, you can seamlessly communicate and share files with your entire team and get things done faster. All your messages are searchable and not buried in crowded inboxes.
Further, Client Buddha’s voice call feature allows you to contact your clients and team members without any expensive calling charges using just your internet connection. You can provide your professional input, collaborate with employees to meet deadlines.
5. Learn to Say No to Stakeholders:
If a change request negatively impacts your deadline, budget and isn’t adding value, then it is okay to say no. You can present your case to your client and work together to discuss the best way forward.
However, if your client is persistent about these changes then compile these requests into a separate project that you can start working on right after your current project. You can follow the below-mentioned tips according to your business needs:
- Compromise: If new requirements have been added then remove uncompleted tasks from your scope. Check that whichever task you remove has equal monetary value to the new task thus assuring your project is on track.
2. Raise the Price: You could incorporate this If you feel that your client’s change requests affect your budget and your deadline. More work must equal compensation. This is easy once the project terms have been agreed upon and a contract has been signed at the project beginning.
Scope Creep is inevitable but by using the right tips and tools, you can easily minimize or even prevent it.
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