Scope creep can be a nightmare for project managers, leading to project delays, overbudgets, and even failure. Every project manager must be able to plan for changes in project scope and manage scope creep.
What is scope creep?
Let’s begin with the question “What is scope?” Scope refers to the project’s documented work plan and deliverables. It details the project’s specifications and deliverables. Each project has a scope. The project’s requirements.
Scope creep refers to when a project’s scope changes and the project work begins to extend beyond what was agreed upon.
Change is inevitable in any project. But it’s the uncontrolled changes which can cause delays and scope creep. Changes that are requested and documented as part of an updated scope of a project can be controlled.
Unauthorized changes can have a negative impact on productivity, deliverables are not achieved, and budgets are exceeded. The final project may look very different to what was originally planned.
What causes scope creep?
Scope creep is a common problem with most projects.
A documented Statement of Work (SOW), that is vague or undefined.
Undocumented conversations between client and team members.
Attempting to make additional changes that aren’t approved.
Poor communication between team members, project managers/team leaders, clients, and other stakeholders.
It is impossible to meet deadlines and time frames.
A change control process that is not flexible or does not exist.
Inadequate project scope statement
Scope creep examples
Unauthorized changes are a common cause of scope creep. One example is when the contractor for Kitchener’s main Library Extension sued the city and the architects. He claimed that the 54-week delay in opening the new library was due largely to a large number of last-minute changes.
Although Chrysler’s PT Cruiser did not seem to be affected by any last-minute design changes, it had problems with product delivery. If Chrysler had included the product delivery schedules (i.e. It’s highly probable that they wouldn’t have lost sales if they had included the product delivery times to showroom dealers into their Work Breakdown Structure.
This blog post focuses on scope creep at Denver International Airport. This is a prime example if poor communication between parties, and impossible timeframes. Four warnings from different parties were ignored and the luggage handling system fell apart on a large scale. Key stakeholders, i.e. The airlines were not involved in the decisions. The deadlines and time frames were never met. This was the most costly of these three examples of scope creep.
Manage scope creep
Sometimes, project changes are not necessarily bad. As long as they are managed well and in a controlled manner. Every project manager should strive to reduce the number of unauthorized changes to project requirements. There are many ways to manage scope creep in a project.
A change control process that is effective and includes change request documentation that explains the cause and scope.
When change requests are approved, update the scope statement of your project. All relevant parties to the project should be kept informed and up-to date.
Document, process, and communicate any scope or timeline changes efficiently.
Collaborate with team leaders, sponsors and clients.
Project management software today often includes tools that help project managers to reduce, or even eliminate, scope creep. Software can monitor work performance and compare them to the baseline project.