What ‘Scope Creep’ is and How to Escape It

Mar 14, 2023 0 min read 1394
Karine Tymoshchenko Business Analyst
What ‘Scope Creep’ is and How to Escape It

Every management team of the project would like to escape such a terrible situation as ‘scope creep’... but nobody is safe from this. Anyway, let's discuss its meaning, reasons and precautionary measures.

What is ‘scope creep’ of the project?

Every management team of the project would like to escape such a terrible situation as ‘scope creep’... but nobody is safe from this. Anyway, let's discuss its meaning, reasons and precautionary measures.

Of course, we know the cases when some additional requirements of stakeholders don't bring to some really significant growth of the project. But project scope creep is critical when project development is changed with uncontrolled increasing of time and scope of work while implementation of features, and requirements and also just providing some timeless research stage of the project. Scope creep can affect the late terms of project development release, unagreed budget and even lack of quality of deliverables.

The list for scope creep reasons can be split into the external and internal concerning team management as one of the responsible action roles of the project development.

What ‘Scope Creep’ is and How to Escape It - 01

Internal reasons

These reasons can be attributed to the following occasions, which depend on the management of the project and its team.

Wrong estimation of project. One of the common reasons not only for startup projects but also for released products. Backlog estimation brings the start of time and budget calculation of the project (its stages, research needs, epic-tasks, and development). Lack of experience in the domain area, uninvolving of technician specialists or just lack of communication among responsible team members affect unqualified estimation that can cause wrong basic parameters for development.

Unclear project tasks. Many aims are not clarified by final deliverables and are not ordered to terms. Business goals are described just by capacious documents without specifications — BRS, SRS, FRS.

Unrealistic project tasks. Expected results can be exaggerated with current resources. It is necessary to compare current team numbers, its qualification grade, and time planning with prospective results in the accounting period.

Team communication problems. Sometimes such problems can be caused by widespread team members over different time zones. The ‘question-answer’ process can take over 6-8 hours, which can delay project development. Also, but rarely (hope so 🙂 ) it can be problems with soft skills and cultural misunderstandings in team communications. 

Failed current control process. The schedule of backlog tasks, its prioritization and development should be controlled at each stage of its SDLC. To prevent overtime and its consequences, it's necessary to control and manage the definite task of the project. 

Read also: Software Requirements Specification and Its Key Components

External reasons

These kinds of reasons can be caused by stakeholders, customers and market influence.

Unagreed project tasks. Stakeholders are interested in project's progress. Some ideas can be taken into account after confirmation of documentation, development schedule, and final deliverables. Every additional feature will need time for estimation, BA specification description, software development and QA testing. Every one of these stages will ‘consume’ time from tasks that were planned and can bring to overtime.

Stakeholders' communication problems. A number of stakeholders can cause misunderstanding in level of responsibility and final decision-making. It can bring to a constant rechange process of requirements and retard the project. 

Uncontrolled Consumer Request/ Client feedback. Of course, customer support and feedback help to collect necessary information on how to improve the project and increase clients' loyalty. But on the other hand, uncontrolled following of consumer requests will sacrifice current aims, time, or quality of project development.

Preventing of project scope creep

Analyzing the list of factors that can affect scope creep we also should admit instruments to escape it.

  • Clear documentation. All business goals and its accomplishment via software project development and implementation should be specified and confirmed by team management and decision-maker stakeholders. Every new requirement for a feature of an epic task should be discussed, confirmed and documented with an additional quantity of time (new terms) and budget.
  • RACI matrix. A number of stakeholders, team management, and other actors should be admitted with their roles and level of impact. RACI matrix helps to organize 
  • The level of responsibility and participation of all actors of the project.
  • Tasks backlog is scheduled. Every new requirement for a feature of an epic task should be discussed, confirmed, and documented with additional quantity of time (new terms) and budget. Project Gantt Chart helps to control terms of development 
  • Management process control is an important part of project development. A such instrument as Jira, Asana, etc. helps to collect and manage requirements with the team through all projects.
  • Readiness to change. All listed tools don't guarantee to escape from the problems with scope creep. Team management should be ready for unpredictable problems and for finding decisions by changing the prioritization of tasks, and their terms and using other management instruments.

By the way, are there any fine reasons for scope creep? That's right, it's not always the enemy of the project. But if scope creep is acceptable relative to market and customer expectations, this new information and requirements also should be confirmed, documented, and controlled. Such positive ‘scope creep’ can lead successful current projects to a new level with new goals and benefits. 

Every management team of the project would like to escape such a terrible situation as #scope creep... but nobody is safe from this. But does it have any good features? So, let's discuss its meaning, reasons, and precautionary measures.

Software Development Hub is a software engineering company that helps partners build high-performance software solutions. With a pool of over 100 highly skilled specialists, SDH builds custom software providing maximum flexibility to deliver high-quality software development services to projects of any complexity or scale.


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