Scope creep is what happens when new requirements are added to the scope of a project after it has started. There is often little control over these changes, and the team is still expected to deliver the additions with the same resources and at the same time as the original scope. Taking some control over these changes is necessary in order to stay on top of the work and manage the project effectively. Don’t let the scope creeper take its toll on your project. Here are a few ways to keep control of your project.
Verify the scope.
Clarity is extremely important on any project. You must clearly define your scope at the beginning to avoid big problems down the line. Check that you have properly understood the project’s requirements and have thoroughly gone over the action plan with your client to make last-minute tweaks or additions. Also, ensure the scope is clear to everyone working on the project. Involve your team members in establishing the scope, so that they are more invested in their deliverables.
Draw up a written agreement.
Ensure your client understands what the full scope of work is. Don’t just send a document outlining the deliverables, but also talk to them to figure out exactly what they want from the project. Be as transparent as possible by asking questions and writing everything down. Once you prioritize requirements and document everything, share it with everyone involved so that there is complete clarity and agreement.
Handle issues and changes together and quickly.
Hiding behind issues and not being transparent with the client seems like an easy fix. However, you will come to regret it later on. Be sure to raise issues right away, along with some suggested solutions. Develop a clear understanding of what the issue is, the potential impact it has and the best solution. Keep your client closely in the loop with your progress.
Clarify the schedule.
Use your agreement and requirements to create a detailed task list. This list should include a breakdown of how your tasks will be achieved, and when. Be sure to cross-reference your schedule against your scope of work and agreement to make sure you have not forgotten anything. In addition to this schedule, it is important to have a contingency plan. Remember, change happens, so it is best to be prepared.
Scope creep arises naturally. By defining the project’s requirements and preparing for changes, you can help avoid project failure.