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What is Scope Creep? 1/5

01.What is Scope Creep?
02.What are the Causes of Scope Creep?
03.Scope Creep Example
04.Managing and Controlling Scope Creep
05.How to Avoid Scope Creep
06.Writing a Project Scope Statement in a Project Initiation Document

In a number of pages in the Project Scope Sta tement section I’ve warned you of the perils of Scope Creep and how it can easily lead to Project Failure. However I’ve been asked on numerous occassions, "just what is scope creep?". SWell scope creep is a terrible thing. Basically it occurs when one or all of the following happens:

Causes of Scope Creep

  • Poorly detailed Project Scope Statement in the Project Initiation Document
  • Poor Project Management Requirements have been delivered
  • Poor control of the Project by the Project Manager
  • Indecisive Project Stakeholders
  • Too many Project Stakeholders who have differing priorities and objectives

What happens is the project scope keeps changing, which leads to unclear deliverables. This has the knock on effect of causing confusion and increased budgets as well as timeframes. Soon you end up with a project which never delivers, or which the Organisation decides to scrap.

Now you may be wondering how on earth Scope Creep can occur in a well run project? Well one major cause is that the Project Scope Statement within the Project Initiation Document has been poorly written. By this I mean that the Project Manager has not properly defined what is In Scope and what is Out of Scope. Now in an ideal world this wouldn't matter. However you would be surprised how many Business Stakeholders suddenly change their view on what they think the project is delivering once it has initiated and the budget approved.

This usually consists of the Business Stakholder asking, or worse demanding that the project includes additional functionality but with the same budget, resources and of course timeframe. The Project Manager is then faced with an uphill battle. They can hardly wave the Project Initiation Document around and say the additional functionality isn't in scope, when the scope documented in it is so vague it can be interpreted in any number of ways. At the sametime the Project Manager risks antagonising their most important Project Stakeholder before the project has really got going.

Worst of all this scenario will keep repeating itself throughout the whole project lifecycle and it then becomes an uphill battle to fight against project scope creep. The result of this is that either the Project Manager finds themself replaced on the project because they are perceived as being a "problem" by senior management, or the project scope gets completely out of control and the project is stopped. p> Either way as you can imagine, neither scenario enhances a Project Manager's reputation. In fact I have known of Project Manager's whose career has been so badly effected by Scope Creep, that it took years before they were given another big project to manage. That is why Scope Creep is one of the most important areas to mitigate against both for the survival of the project but also for the career of a Project Manager.

What is Scope Creep? - Tip

It goes without saying that the number one way to safeguard against scope creep is the ensure it is detailed properly in the Project Scope Statement in the Project Initiation Document. This means ensuring that no-one has to make assumptions, and better still that nothing is ambiguous with regard to scope.

01.What is Scope Creep?
02.What are the Causes of Scope Creep?
03.Scope Creep Example
04.Managing and Controlling Scope Creep
05.How to Avoid Scope Creep
06.Writing a Project Scope Statement in a Project Initiation Document

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