How to prevent scope creep.
On Monday we began the conversation about scope creep. As mentioned, scope creep is derailing off of a project’s original, contracted plan.
Scope creep can range vastly from minor, additional design revisions, to overhauling an already-outlined, implemented social media strategy. When the tasks on a contract “go rogue”, you’re experiencing scope creep.
Sure, minor changes to projects seem just that. Minor. However, minor changes add up, affect other parts of your project, and overall, tear down a well-established relationship.
Think of a new website or digital marketing project as a new-construction home. The scope of your project is the foundation you’ve laid and the frame you’ve built. A minor tweak, like expanding your living room 3 inches, doesn’t just affect the living room. It affects your roof, insulation, concrete, drywall… everything. It’s a snowball effect.
So, how does a business avoid scope creep?
Communication is the maker and breaker of all things. While we never expect a business to have a project preplanned in its entirety, it’s important to have as many ideas, wants and needs communicated up front.
The initial discovery phase of your project is crucial! By having all of the decision-makers present with ideas in-hand, everyone of importance will understand the direction of your project.
Additionally, it’s important to realize when there’s “too many hands in the pot.” Sure, more often than not, all insight is good insight. That is, until scope creep happens.
With communication comes setting realistic expectations. As our client, we want to know and understand the expectations you have in mind.
While you’re the expert in your field, we’re the experts in ours. Together, we can determine what works best for both of us! Understanding your expectations, not only for your project, but for your deadlines is extremely important to us.
Moreover, it’s helpful for us to understand why you would like the project aspects you do, why you have requested deadline dates, and what inspires your project goals. This way, we can offer up the same insight to you.
Poor communication and unrealistic expectations can destroy any relationship. Even a business-based one.
The quickest way for scope creep to happen is in the feedback and revision phase of a project. Understanding the revision process of your project will drastically decrease any implications of scope creep.
As much as we’d love to appease every revision request made, sticking to the original scope of a project directly impacts the delivery time of your project.
As we mentioned, minor tweaks outside of your scope seem small, but add up! In order to meet deadlines, our teams must work together to upkeep the feedback process.
When a project is completed and delivered, embrace it! In other words, stop comparing. Admittedly, we’re perfectionists. It’s simply in our nature. However, we’ve had to implement the phrase, “polished, not perfect” into our lives. Not to be confused with “settling”.
Same goes with your website design, in particular. With billions upon billions of web designs out there, it’s easy to find a new one you like every five minutes. We get it! However, we highly recommend taking the time to fall in love with the project you have. Monitor its success for a while. Then assess the changes you might want for a “phase two” project.
On our end, we could endlessly tweak to perfection at the risk of scope creep. Unfortunately, those minor tweaks can put a huge delay in other projects we have commissioned. We take great pride in the design, development and digital work we provide and we’d never complete a project we didn’t feel amazing about.
Scope creep often seems unavoidable. But, with clear communication, realistic expectations, feedback processes and stopping when you’re ahead, it can be deflected!
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