5 Helpful Strategies to Manage and Avoid Scope Creep

Have you and your team recently been impacted by scope creep? Scope creep can be a major set back to your finalized project plans, and some stakeholders have a difficult time recognizing when and where scope creep occurs. 

It’s pretty common; in fact, 52% of companies face scope creep challenges. It greatly impacts your ability to successfully deliver projects on time and on budget. 

That’s why we put together a list of the top 5 most helpful strategies to manage and avoid scope creep and ensure project success in 2022.

1. Know What Scope Creep Is & Have A Prevention Process

First and foremost, you should know what scope creep is and have a process in place to prevent it from occurring.

Essentially, scope creep occurs when there is any change in a project’s scope, causing the project work to extend, or “creep,” beyond what was initially agreed upon. 

Scope creep can arise in a myriad of ways throughout a project. One of the most common contributing factors are the informal changes that overlook your formal change management process.

On the management side, another common factor is when executives on both sides don’t have the capacity to directly oversee all the last-minute changes that project teams make. 

In a survey from 60 project managers, it was found that 92% of the projects failed due to not managing the scope appropriately. Staying on top of the project’s scope requires careful planning and well-defined processes in place. 

Although some changes may help to exceed expectations and deliver more value in the short term, it increases the risk of additional requests and additional uncertainties in the long-term. 

As such, you will need to recognize the signs of potential scope creep and be proactive instead of reactive.Because, once you allow scope creep to occur, it can become a slippery slope from thereon, which leads us to point #2:

2. Hold Regular Status Meetings to Track Progress and Identify Setbacks 

Once a project begins, it’s critical to schedule regular status meetings with your project team members to ensure they are staying on track and to manage project risks. 

Scheduling regular status meetings are important for assessing your team’s progress, identifying potential challenges, and keeping them on track. 

Tip: Project management is also people management, so keep team members on task, engaged, and listened to. Successful team dynamics create successful project outcomes.

Regular status meetings can increase your team’s productivity and ensure that they are working efficiently and effectively to complete the project within scope, within budget, and on time.

3. Update Stakeholders on Changes

Establishing a process for managing change at the onset of the project will allow you to proactively plan for and manage changes to the project scope. When any change is made, it is important to analyze the impact of the change to the project, get approval from the project sponsor and inform all impacted stakeholders.

4. Rebaseline For Significant Changes

Any change that is made to a project could impact the schedule and cost of the project. It is important to perform an analysis of the changes and impact to the timeline. A rebaseline may be necessary to ensure that the project accommodate significant changes to the overall project scope are communicated effectively across all stakeholders and impacted team members.

5. Schedule a Project Kickoff Meeting

The kickoff meeting gets everyone on the same page for the project. In the kickoff meeting, you communicate the scope of the project to the team, identify the key stakeholders of the project, and outline the roles and responsibilities for the team and key stakeholders. 

Project Management Institute presents the kickoff meeting as an effective tool and method to “create a mutual culture among the team, establish a common goal with the stakeholders and determine how everyone will work together.”  

A kickoff meeting serves as a way to review the key aspects of the project scope, including roles and responsibilities, deadlines, project milestones, and to establish project check-ins and to report on project progress.

The kickoff meeting will ensure that each project team member understands and has a clear understanding of the project scope. It also puts the project on a path for success. This simple meeting can be the difference between a successful project and a project off the rails. 

What was your favorite tip? Which one do you think you’ll use to help with your projects in 2022?  

If scope management has been an issue in your projects, Schedule a Consultation to discuss how we can help.