What Is Scope Creep, And How Can You Avoid It In Your Next Project?
In the world of project management, it refers to how something changes during a project without consideration of those changes by the client or the development team. In other words, if you’re paying someone to build you an app, but halfway through the process, they decide that instead of an app, what you want is an ebook, then you have scope creep on your hands.
Scope creep in project management can be very costly to your business and should be avoided at all costs.
Here’s a complete guide telling what is scope creep and what steps you need to take. Let’s have a look!
What is Project Scope?
In project management, the term scope refers to the real work that needs completion before finalizing a project. This includes all the tasks, deliverables, and products that must be produced. A clear and well-defined scope is essential for any project, allowing for clear parameters to be set for what needs to be done.
What is Scope Creep?
Scope creep, simply put, is when the project scope begins to expand beyond its original parameters. Only 57% of projects are completed under budget, and only 51% are completed on time. Nearly half of all projects encounter scope creep.
Many reasons can lead to this, but usually, the client hasn’t been clear about what they want, or the team working on the project hasn’t been effective at communicating or managing expectations. Scope creep can be extremely frustrating for everyone involved in a project and can often lead to delays, budget overruns, and even complete failure.
Although scope creep is a never-ending battle, you should anticipate it and look for warning signs.
What is Scope Creep in Project Management?
In project management, scope creep is the tendency for projects to expand in scope over time. Creep can happen when the project’s requirements are not well-defined, or new stakeholders get involved and add their objectives. Changes in technology or the environment can also cause creep. Whatever the cause, scope creep can have a major impact on a project’s schedule, budget, and quality.
Why is Project Scope Creep Bad?
Most of the time, project scope creep is bad for a project. However, some situations in which deviating from the initial plan is acceptable. Since many projects last for several years, there may be changes in the market’s dynamics or in the client’s needs, which results in an expansion of the project’s scope.
- Several problems brought on by scope creep include:
- Lack of dialogue
- Additionally, lack of project scope experience
- Poor formulation of goals
How to Avoid Scope Creep?
Do not allow scope creep to ruin your project. Here are some strategies for managing scope creep for your Projects.
Reassess Your Requirements
To avoid creep, it is important to reassess your requirements constantly. Therefore, you should evaluate the need for a new requirement as soon as it arises. If it is, then you can add it to the project scope. However, if it is not essential, you should try to find a way to work around it or eliminate it.
Use Gantt Charts to Schedule Deadlines
Gantt charts can help you avoid scope creep when scheduling your project’s deadlines. You can visually see when each task must be completed and estimate the time it will take for each task. Plus, a Gantt chart can help keep your team on track and accountable. Here are some tips for using Gantt charts
Keep them Simple
1. Create one row per week with 4 columns
Monday-Friday or Monday-Thursday, start date, end date, and task summary. Use milestones to represent major milestones, such as completing major tasks or phases in the project.
2. Use Color Coding
Color code tasks, so it’s easy to identify which tasks have been completed and which ones still need work.
3. Use as many Rows as Needed
If there are more than 12 tasks planned for one week, split up the rows by day or work with your team to organize them into categories that make sense for your team. For example, if you’re splitting up tasks by day, ensure that all tasks are scheduled for the same time (such as 10 am-2 pm).
4. Label all rows with summaries
Label all rows with a summary of what they include. This will help people unfamiliar with your project to understand its progress without reading through every line.
5. Stay flexible
You’ll likely need to revise timelines from time to time and may even find new tasks added as things progress. As long as everyone stays on board, you should be able to adjust accordingly without any problems.
Create Actionable Milestones
- Define the project’s objectives early on and get buy-in from all stakeholders.
- Ensure that your project plan includes milestones, tasks, and deliverables.
- Assign clear roles and responsibilities to team members.
- Additionally, hold regular check-ins with the team to track progress and identify potential scope creep.
- Keep documentation up-to-date, including any changes to the scope of work.
- Get sign-off from stakeholders on any scope changes before proceeding with work.
- Communicate openly and frequently with all project stakeholders about the project’s status.
Make a Kickoff Meeting Agenda
To avoid scope creep, it’s important to set clear expectations. That’s why a kickoff meeting is essential for any project.
Here’s what your schedule should include:
- Introductions and objectives.
- Defining the project scope.
- Establishing ground rules.
- Assigning roles and responsibilities.
- Setting deadlines and milestones.
- Discussing communication channels and methods.
Scope creep is a relatively common problem in any design project, but if you’re aware of the symptoms and signs, it’s something that you can spot early on—and ultimately prevent it from happening at all. This will save money and give you a better chance of creating a high-quality design that meets your client’s expectations.
Pro Scheduler is a great app for project management on the move. It has all the basic functions you need to have an overview of both projects and tasks.