When operating a business, you must avoid and manage scope creep. Clients often request additions and changes in a project, but saying yes, every time can add up and lead your project into scope creep.
What Is the Scope of a Project?
It refers to the work required to complete a project. Businesses can use a breakdown structure to identify an individual's activities, tasks, and deliverables of a project. Later, you need a scope statement to define the scope of your project.
What Is Scope Creep in Project Management?
Project scope, in project management, refers to the summary of requirements and deliverables in a project. Businesses primarily define scope at the beginning of the project planning and must be achievable during the plan. Scope creeps occur when the deliverables exceed the pre-planned project scope.
Why is Scope Creep Dangerous?
Scope creep is disastrous for projects but diverging from the original plan is acceptable. Since projects often take several years to complete, market dynamics or customers' requirements may change, leading the project to expand. Following are some of the issues that make scope creep dangerous.
- significant cost overruns
- lack of team communication
- lack of time management in the team
- quick burnout
- lack of clarity in the deliverables
- lack of experience
- poor goal setting
How do you Control Scope Creep in Your Project?
Businesses must follow the following three management plans to manage project scope creep.
- a) Change Management Plan
Changes occur in projects all the time. However, it is crucial to have a change management plan to control these changes. In rare cases, projects progress as planned. However, project managers adjust the projects' schedule, scope, and budget in most cases. Therefore, without a change management plan, you will not be able to control change processes, and the work may keep piling up.
- b) Scope Management Plan
The scope management describes how to control and establish the project's scope. It includes a breakdown structure, scope statement, and process to approve scope by stakeholders as a project's baseline. It helps project managers to ensure that stakeholders know the project scope baseline and the changes that may affect the overall project plan.
- c) Risk Management Plan
In cases where scope creep occurs, it is crucial to have a risk management plan. It is a document that determines the strategies, responsibilities, roles, and funding for risk management. Moreover, it is a plan that contains relevant information to prevent risks such as scope creep.
Ways to Prevent:
Following are some ways to avoid scope creep.
- a) Define the scope
Defining the scope is the most crucial step in a project plan. Moreover, it is essential to note the changes by clients and stakeholders and baseline the scope before starting the project.
- b) Log the changes
Since changes occur in all projects, it is crucial to record the additional requirements to the project scope.
- c) Re-baseline
It is essential to keep the baseline updated to facilitate effective communication about project progress and other resources.
- d) Request more funding and/or resources
Following the above two steps would help you have solid proof to request additional resources or funding from clients.
- e) Watch for signs
Make sure you watch for signs while working on the project scope.
- f) Set Priorities
Make sure to let the control board evaluate and prioritize changes. It happens when there are multiple groups or different stakeholders for projects. Therefore, it is better to allow the change control board to handle and approve the changes.
- g) Avoid the traps
There are times when you come across different questions that lead you to additional work. Therefore, it is better to avoid such traps as they affect projects.
How to Avoid Scope Creep?
Businesses need to look for ways to avoid scope creep. Here, we discuss six practical ways to avoid scope creep.
- a) Always have a written contract
The first step is to have a well-defined written contract that includes all the relevant information about the project. The document makes it easier to identify and manage scope creep.
- b) Communicate clearly and often
Communicating is another essential element in controlling scope creep. Since you are responsible for the project, you must share if any changes occur and discuss how the changes may fit into the project. Moreover, provide professional advice and work together to make a better decision.
- c) Know when to say no
Sometimes changes request come that do not add value to the project or even negatively affect the overall project. In such situations, it is acceptable to decline the changes. Present your case to the clients and discuss the best action plan.
- d) Provide options for additional work
When clients approach a change request, provide them with the original scope and two options. You may ask for the additional expense to proceed with the work. Moreover, it provides them with a choice, and you will not lose your time and money.
- e) Document Scope Changes
Another way to avoid scope creep is to document scope changes. Write down any change requests and talk to the clients and stakeholders before reaching a final decision.
- f) Use project management software
It keeps everyone on track- Have your electricians use wireless tools such as a wireless multimeter to work with remote engineering teams.
The Bottom Line
Scope creep can cause a stressful environment and take the fun out of work. Therefore, it is essential to invest time in developing a well-defined project plan and a backup plan and communicating with clients to manage signs of scope creep.