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What Is “Scope-Creep” & How To Avoid It

Scope Creep

What is “Scope-Creep”?

Scope-Creep is also called feature creep or requirement creep and is any change added to a project that negatively affects deadlines or the budget of a project. Often scope-creep slowly accumulates until it becomes a noticeable detriment to project deadlines. Even the most meticulously planned project will discover unforeseen circumstances that require adjustments to meet project goals. Knowing when to fold these unforeseen circumstances into an existing project and when to shelve them for the next project is key to keeping projects on track and within budget. As a rule, if the project can be completed as planned without changes, then the feature should be included in a separate project.

Jeff Soto, technology director at Work & Co, said.

“When scope creep does happen, it’s important that your team and client fully understand feature prioritization,” Soto said. “Strong communication and trust between all project teams and stakeholders help facilitate the balancing act between delivering the best possible product and working within the limitations of timelines, resources and budget.”

5 Ways to Avoid Scope-Creep?

Scope-Creep can not be in entirely avoided however it can be minimized to keep projects on track and within budget. PMI’s 2018 survey found that “around half (52 percent) of projects experience scope creep and roughly half (48 percent) are not delivered on time, leading to huge financial losses.”

  1. Have a clear understanding of the project goals and requirements.
  2. Create a detailed project plan and schedule.
  3. Break projects into small stages.
  4. Have a formal change management process in place.
  5. Consistently engage your team from ground up.

Scope-Creep Example

A Microsoft Office 365 email migration can quickly morph into a file server migration to Microsoft SharePoint Online and customizing Microsoft Teams.  There may be workstations that are poorly maintained and need to be repaired before Microsoft Office 365 can be installed or function probably. Since the original objective of the project was to migrate email to Microsoft Office 365, the file server migration to Microsoft SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams customization would be included on separate project. On the other hand, workstations in poor health that can be resolved in a reasonable amount of time would be folded into the project.

Another great example occurred while migrating a server in the office to cloud servers in Microsoft Azure. This client needed freelancers to have access to sensitive data on their servers and access client financial data. Our original solution presented to the client only allowed freelancers access to Office 365 and company resources when they were logged into the company’s Windows Virtual Desktop and required monitoring software on the freelancer’s computer to verify their systems were complainant with company policy. The monitoring software and antivirus protection was rejected as to costly. However, the client decided they wanted the additional protection due to the sensitive nature of the financial data the freelancers could access. Adding monitor software to the freelancer’s computers was considered out of the scope of the current project and scheduled for a later date.


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2690 Joppa Rd, York, PA 17403 
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