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3 Actions To Avoid Scope Creep


Some argue that scope creep is unavoidable, and this concept is true to an extent. Environmental or political factors could result in the addition of whole sections to a planned project.

This is detrimental to efficient, effective project management, and is also the result of underestimating the intent of a project. Learn how project managers can avoid the problem of scope creep by taking the following actions.

1, Avoid Scope Creep by Clearly Defining the Client’s Underlying Goals

The scenario in project management is practically an archetype. A client wants project A to be completed by deadline B. On the surface, the intent of the project seems fairly obvious. Yet, the actual goal of the client is not to finish the project; it’s how the project will impact the client’s operation.

For example, a client wants to build a 30-foot structure in the middle of a field. To the project manager, the intent is to have a facility. However, the structure’s specifications depend on what the structure will be used for. Will it be a retail location? Will it process raw materials, or will it simply be a place of recreation?

The answers to these questions can help you identify what other wants may be added to the original plans. By understanding the goals before starting a project, you can factor in these probable changes into your plans.

2. Create Specific Processes to Handle Scope Creep

In reality, scope creep will most likely occur. While this can seem disheartening, it does not mean you have to be willing to accept changes in the original plan. It simply emphasizes the need to have a specific plan in place to handle any and all requests for changes in the project scope.

This plan must account for all increases in costs to meet the changes in the project’s scope. Furthermore, a process for modifying the project scope must always consider the element of time. Larger changes in scope will require longer completion times, and your team needs to have a process in place to clarify if these changes will be acceptable to workers, the project management team and the client.

Ultimately, your client may not realize how minor changes could impact the overall project, and it’s up to you to ensure any changes result in appropriate changes to the budget and schedule.

3. Avoid Going Beyond What Is Reasonable for the Project’s Plans

You or members of your project management team may have a tendency to go beyond what the client originally asked for. While this may seem like a good idea, it can lead to false impressions. Your client will learn to expect more than promised, and scope creep will become a major problem. In some cases, going slightly beyond expectations is acceptable, but it should always be within reason and never be considered a given in any part of the project.

These actions can help you reduce scope creep. Each action should be part of your strategy for managing scope creep, which will actually help you maintain the value and integrity in your team as well.

Key Points to Remember

  • Think about the goals when planning, not only what the client says.
  • Set standard procedures for addressing changes in project scope.
  • Avoid the temptation to “throw in” extras in the project. 

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