All of the Project Management community of professionals would agree that one of the dirtiest phrases to use or let alone deal with in the industry is “SCOPE CREEP”. Scope creep, defined by many as the ‘thorn’ of their professional existence. Scope creep, unexpected occurrences within the full scope of a project which impacts in ways of time, money, resources and talent. Now, I could write this blog about scope creep revealing all negative of this PM condition, but I digress. Let’s be frank, scope creep is in the eye of the beholder. This condition could be a blessing in disguise. Are you still with me?
Whether that is the case or not, it is the PM who can make the sun shine or the storm clouds gather. It is all in the planning. Now I am not stating that scope creep can always be avoided, certainly not! What I do want to convey is the vital importance that a PM fully understands the inner workings of the project environment, the organics of it all.
Prime example, in the case of the client who doesn’t quite know what they want or the one who says “I’ll know what I want when I see it” type of client. Give due diligence to the client in assisting the project driver to render a clear vision for the project. This helps the PM understand their priorities and the priorities of the client. From that point create a process of change document creating a unified understanding and expectations (Laureate Education, n.d.).
I’ve got another one. Those overly discerning, who are determined to impose an unwritten or unspoken agreement of receiving valued service for free. This means extra time, work, resources and/or money for free. REALLY? This does happen quite often to those independent contractors out there. To defray this happening, establish conditions, the frame for the client relationship in writing… a contract. Within this document, let the client know if such activity occurs how this will possibly affect delivery time and associated costs. Free yourself from those types of conversations in the very beginning.
Scope creep comes in many forms which makes it all the more important for the PM to understand project priorities, organize and schedule deliverables, seek the required approvals, strive to satisfy the client and your team of talent. By all means, continue throughout analyzing and assessing performance and quality project outcomes and expectations (Portny et al, 2008) . Remember, scope creep is always looming and is coming your way. Prepare with good planning.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Monitoring projects [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.