Scope creep is one of those very preventable things that
always seem to happen. Here are some steps to keep the preventable from
happening:

Identify the key stakeholders: This is important for when
someone other than a stakeholder requests a scope change. This will allow you to
talk it through with the stakeholder and the request for change could be
stopped right then and there.

Make sure you fully understand the requirements and the SOW:
Leave no question unasked, no scenario not played out. Document all the
questions and answers. scenario results, and any decisions made and communicate
them to everyone so that everyone is on the same page and you avoid the ever so
awkward “I don’t remember talking about that” situation. This will also allow
for any discrepancies in your notes to be corrected before it’s too late.

Have a well-defined change process for scope changes and
follow it:
Who is the decision maker? What forms/documents are needed. What
needs to be included in those forms/documents (cost of the change, risks,
effects on other project tasks, etc.)?

Prevent gold plating: sure, you want to add an extra feature
that would add a more value to impress the customer, but is it what the
customer wanted? Just because you think it would be better doesn’t mean the
customer does. If you go back to your (well understood) scope, is it there? If
it is, then go for it, but, if not, then say goodbye to it. Document it as a
potential opportunity for future enhancement and present it to the customer at
project completion. You can add it to the list of denied scope changes to
propose as a new project.

Know when to say no and more importantly, be OK with saying
no:
This one, is the hardest to master. Saying no is never fun- especially when
you’re saying no to the people who are paying you. Not every scope change is
going to be approved. Keep a well-documented list of denied scope changes. If
after the project is completed and the customer still sees them as necessary,
you can propose this as a separate project.

Taking preventative measures will help ensure you
don’t ever have to fall into the scope creep pit again (or at the very least,
not fall as far down).

-Krystina Hodge, Consultant | Project Manager

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