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How to limit and prevent dreaded scope creep

Julie Lord

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There is no denying that one of the most challenging aspects of being a project manager is scope creep. As your project goes on, clients will want to add more and more things to the mix. These changes can seem minor on the surface, but they all add up, and they can prevent a project from being delivered on time and to budget. With that in mind, read on to discover how to limit and prevent dreaded scope creep.

Get creative – When you are presented with an extra requirement, you need to think outside-of-the-box to discover how it can be delivered without having a negative impact on the project. Is there anything you can do to control the scope? Perhaps it would be better if the out-of-scope item were provided by the user themselves. Or, maybe you have an additional resource that will enable you to deliver the out-of-scope item? Look for unique ways to mitigate or circumvent the changes that come in. Providing the client with alternative options is better than saying no altogether.

Be the first person to mention extras – In a lot of cases, you will notice that the project would benefit from something that was not included in the original contract. If this is the case, you should approach the client to discuss this. Tell them that you think your idea would be better, explain why, and state that it will add ‘x’ amount of time and ‘y’ amount of money to the scope. Of course, you should also state that the client could proceed with the original scope if they prefer. If you beat the client to the punch, you can avoid scope creep.

Avoid gold plating – Gold plating is a term that is used to describe over delivering. You add greater value to the project, despite the fact that the client has not asked for it. This can seem like a great idea; an excellent way to keep clients on side and show your business in a shining light. However, there aren’t any benefits associated with going above and beyond. Clients want you to stick to your promises, and that is that. If you reward them with extras, they are only going to start bombarding you with unrealistic expectations.

Go into detail – Another way to control scope creep is to go into detail. If you provide basic and generic documents for your clients, you can end up on different pages entirely. This feeds scope creep, as the client will often expect more than what you intended.

Take a project management course – One of the best ways to improve your ability to control scope creep is to take one of the available project management courses . You will learn about the latest and best methods for controlling scope. Project management training is advised no matter whether you are experienced or not. There is always room for improvement after all.

There is no denying that controlling scope creep is one of the most difficult jobs of any project manager. However, if you follow the advice mentioned above, you will have a much better chance of success.


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