By: Sounderya Raghav
Let’s address the biggest elephant in any project manager’s room. Yes, you probably have your mind running in the same direction as mine: Scope-Creep.
As a project manager, you probably worry about Scope-Creep and its derailing effect on your project. Have a look here on what Scope-creep sounds like.
Can we just add a new feature really quick before we go-live?!!!
We are already building so much; another new thing won’t hurt much!!
Oh! Being the star developer on the project can definitely add this extra feature too!!
In overview, it might sound like going the extra mile while delivering a project, but in reality, it’s like a shark who sneaks up on you and before you realize it, it’s already too late.
Scope-Creep occurs when a project progresses and the project’s requirements and deliverables increase in an uncontrolled manner. Sometimes, happens several times during a project, poorly affecting the project’s schedule, budget, costs, and resources.
Scope-Creep doesn’t just impact the project manager, but affects everyone involved.
Let’s talk through a few simple tips to avoid getting scope-creeped:
- Contract: Yes, that’s your key, never start a project without signing a contract. Write out in detail a clear plan including timelines, milestones, and deliverables. Delegate responsibilities for both parties (you and the customer). Contracts play a crucial part in setting expectations from start to finish for any project..
- Be a ‘Vigilante’: As a project manager, always keep your eyes and ears open to small details. Learn to identify when to say yes and no. In both scenarios, clearly convey the next steps and put forth a clear plan.
- Set a process for changing the scope: Define how the changes will be done, and who will do them. Only specified people should be requesting scope changes from the customers’ end, and only a limited number of people should be involved in granting those changes. Define the process for getting paid for these changes in scope. Get appropriate sign offs. Document the exact changes being requested and any implications of making the asked change; time, costs and delivery dates etc.
- Use a project management software: Your project management software is an important tool in managing scope-creep. It is a great idea to use a project management software that both the delivery team and the customer can collaborate on.
Additionally, it is only fair to add that for all the harm scope-creep does, there can be an upside. For example, going past the work scope you can gain more grateful customers which in turn can increase revenues. But it’s important to gauge the limits of scope-creep. Happy PMing!!