Best Practices for Avoiding (Or Dealing With) Scope Creep

The following insight was excerpted from a feature story about Best Practices in SCN’s October 2016 print edition.

How is performance measured, and how are expectations controlled in a situation where rules are unclear and the end result cannot be recognized?

The first key to avoiding the chaos of “scope creep” is simple — demand a complete Scope of Work (including functional and control) with every project proposal. Identify customer needs/expectations and develop a written Scope of Work statement to answer:

  • What will and won’t be provided?
  • How the system will function?
  • Who is responsible for what aspect of a project deliverable?
  • What directive is an easily identifiable change?
  • What is the project finish line — i.e., how will the project team be confident in saying “I am complete with my work”?

Second, ensure all project team members review and fully understand the scope, as it will drive all future project decisions. Third, ensure a full work breakdown structure (and schedule) is developed to detail scope tasks and is prudently followed throughout the project.

With a clearly defined Scope of Work, dealing with scope creep becomes straightforward. Valuable resource time is focused on the consideration of potential benefits in project modifications/changes to the scope, not on the inevitable confusion and conflict that arises in the absence of one.