March 3, 2023
min read
Last updated:
September 1, 2023

How project managers can avoid scope creep

March 3, 2023
min read
Last updated:
September 1, 2023

How project managers can avoid scope creep

Project scope is the foundation of any project, having a clear understanding of what the project is expected to achieve. However, when project scope begins to expand beyond its initial objectives, it can lead to scope creep. Scope creep can have the potential to cause significant damage to a project. Let’s dive into exploring what scope creep is, the damage it can cause to project scope, how scope creep happens in projects, and some practical steps you can take to avoid scope creep altogether.  

What is scope creep?

Scope creep refers to the gradual expansion of a project's scope beyond its initial objectives. This can be due to various reasons, such as changes in requirements, unclear project goals, a lack of communication between project stakeholders or even just a stakeholder running away with their ideas. When scope creep happens, it can result in a project that is more expensive, takes longer to complete, and may not meet any of the original requirements or objectives – a project manager’s worst nightmare!

The effects of scope creep

Scope creep can cause significant damage to project scope. It can increase project costs and timelines, making it challenging to deliver the project on time and within budget. It can also lead to a loss of quality, because additional work may be rushed or not completed to the same standard as the original project as you try to make up time. Scope creep can also impact team morale and motivation due to the moving goal posts, resulting in a decrease in productivity and increased turnover.

How does scope creep happen?

Scope creep can happen in projects due to several reasons, some of the most common being changes in requirements, a lack of clarity in project objectives, and a lack of communication between project stakeholders.  

Changes in requirements easily lead to scope creep, as new features or functionality may be added to the project without considering the impact on project timelines and costs. A lack of clarity in project objectives can also be what leads to scope creep, as stakeholders may have different views on what the project should achieve. A lack of communication between project stakeholders can cause misunderstandings and disagreements, leading to scope creep.

6 steps to avoid scope creep in project scope

To avoid creep in project scope, there are some practical steps project managers can take throughout the project lifecycle.  

Define Clear Project Objectives and Requirements  

Clearly define the project objectives and requirements to ensure everyone understands what the project should achieve. It’s important to communicate exactly what is expected from the project and have appropriate documentation circulated where required.  

Set Realistic Project Timelines and Budgets

Effective planning of your deliverables will help you to set realistic timelines and budgets to ensure the project can be delivered on time and within set budget.

Monitor the Project Scope

Regularly monitor the project scope to ensure that it remains aligned with the original objectives and requirements.

Involve Stakeholders in the Decision-Making Process

Involve stakeholders in the decision-making process to ensure everyone has a voice in the project. Managing your stakeholders effectively is important to achieve project success.  

Communicate Regularly

Maintain regular effective communication between project stakeholders to ensure that everyone is aware of project progress and any changes that may impact the project.

Prioritise Changes

Prioritise changes to ensure that only essential changes are made to the project.

PPM software and scope creep

PPM software can be a valuable tool for avoiding project scope creep, but you need to make sure you have a great solution to truly help. Fluid provides visibility and control over project scope throughout the project lifecycle, enabling project managers to keep a close eye on the scope and any changes that come through.

Fluid is a centralised platform to manage all project activities. With all project data being stored in an all-in-one solution, project managers can easily monitor and control scope changes, ensuring the project stays on track. The Fluid backlog can allow managers to put any ‘out-of-scope’ work into a different section, whilst being able to revisit it in the future. Project pipeline can also effectively be used to manage any scope changes being requested by stakeholders, allowing the project manager to effectively handle all requests. The advanced resource management and mature financial management functionality that Fluid provides gives project managers the ability to keep track of funding and stick to budget, whilst being able to effectively manage resources to complete deliverables.  

A project manager’s time is valuable, and Fluid stops that time being wasted. Drop us a message to find out what else we can offer.

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