Scope Creep On Projects

Scope creep – what the hack is that? Let’s talk about this magic term and let’s discuss how does it relate to project management. What is more, let’s dive in and let’s talk about the things we need to pay special attention to while dealing with scope creep on projects.

Scope Creep Story

To begin with, I would like to share a story. A couple of years ago I had a project. We were building an e-commerce marketplace. It was a large project and it lasted over a year. 

We had a scope for it. However, the client was very creative and he was always asking for additional features and modifications to the project scope.

What is more, the team was really engaged in the work. They liked the project and they wanted to do it better. Besides, they saw the client’s creativity and; in some moments when they felt they can do things better or easier, they implemented the changes to the project on a flight. Everybody was willing the project to be better than it was originally planned.

Finally, with the common effort we have build this marketplace. But, it was barely similar to the original design.

What Is Wrong With The Story

I’ll tell you. The actions of the team were not appropriate. Specifically, the actions during the moments when they felt creativity.

You might think, what is wrong? People were engaged and motivated; they wanted to do thing better; the team new how to do things better and they did that. 

Well, allis totally fine until the moment which says ‘they did that’. The wrong thing is that the intermediate step is missing. 

What Is Scope Creep?

Scope creep could be anything, starting from the new button shape and ending with the complimentary feature that someone adds at his/her own discretion. 

Is scope creep bad? 


Let’s discuss why.

Imagine, you are a customer. You have an idea of the product and a certain budget you are willing to spend on it. You found a team or an agency; together we have discussed the project scope and shook your hands. Now you are expecting to get what you have agreed on in the end.

When the time comes, you are getting the product with some extras implemented that you were not aware of. What is more, you may even not want them to be implemented. 

Another negative effect is that the product with those extras could cost more than you were originally willing to pay. 

Would you still want to work with that team further?

Why Scope Creep is Bad?

We can see that scope creep leads to the problems with the customer. 

Next, it impacts the project scope, budget and in many cases even a timeline. It impacts all the tree general project KPIs.

As a result it puts a shade on your relationships with the client. What is more, you could be considered as a not reliable and not professional manager. 

It could be even worse if the scope creep was not caught by the project manager during the scope verification and was addressed by the client as a product error. 

Definitely, scope creep is something we do not welcome on projects.

To sum it up, scope creep is something that was implemented on the top of the project scope without approval and that is passing by the change management process.