The Dangers of Scope Creep
Scope creep is a project manager's worst nightmare. The uncontrolled growth of a project's scope can lead to cost and schedule overruns. So, what is scope creep—and how can you avoid it?
Scope creep the uncontrolled growth of a project's scope. It generally occurs when there is a lack of scope definition and too much leeway given to stakeholders. When this happens, stakeholders begin to add new requirements, often without fully understanding the impact on the project schedule or budget. As a result, scope creep can cause cost and schedule overruns.
Unfortunately, scope creep is all too common in project management. A study by the Project Management Institute found that 43% of projects experience scope creep—and that those projects typically experience a 27% increase in costs and a 20% increase in schedule delays.
So, how can you avoid scope creep? Here are three tips:
- Define the project scope upfront. Before you start work on a project, take the time to define what the project entails clearly. What tasks need to be completed? What deliverables will be produced? Who are the stakeholders? Answering these questions upfront will help you keep scope creep at bay.
- Set clear expectations with stakeholders. Once you've defined the project scope, ensure stakeholders understand what is and isn't included in the project. This will help prevent them from making unrealistic requests later on.
- Get sign-off on changes to the scope. If a stakeholder requests a change to the scope, ensure you get a sign-off from all relevant parties before proceeding with the change. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and that scope creep doesn't occur.
Scope creep a severe problem in project management, but it doesn't have to be.
By Dean Miles
Keywords: Startups, Business Continuity, Mental Health