The Scope Creep Monster

The Scope Creep Monster

How agencies can avoid and counteract scope creep.

By Emma Meakin

What is the Scope Creep Monster?

Many freelancers or creative agencies will know the Scope Creep Monster well.

Imagine the scenario: you have spoken to your client, scoped out the project and agreed the timeline, but the client calls and asks to add a small extra task, then a slightly bigger one and then another and so on. The client is happily getting additional services but you are not receiving any additional remuneration or benefit for your work.

Scope creep is the process by which a project progressively expands beyond its original objectives and parameters normally as set out above. But it can be avoided by the effective implementation of project management techniques.

How to avoid it

First and foremost, establish a clear set of aims and the overall vision for the project. Ensure that the management team understands the project’s limits, including budget and deadline. Ensure that you have clearly defined the deliverables in detail to the client and the team working on the project.

Break the project down into minor and major milestones, and factor in additional time as a contingency. Ensure that the client understands that any additions to projects may cost them money and delay the project completion.

The key is to effectively communicate and manage the project team to ensure that your staff can identify when the scope creep monster is rearing its head and to ensure that your client is warned of any additional charges for increasing the scope in advance of extra work beginning.

Of course, changes to the scope of a project may sometimes be legitimate and necessary. However, using tools such as change order forms and getting senior analysis and authorization before changes go ahead will enable you up to keep a tight rein on scope creep.