Scope creep is applicable to many situations. It refers to changes happening within a project occurring outside of the initial scope of the project through the addition of unauthorized features, functions, requirements, or work (Larson & Larson, 2009). To demonstrate the concept of scope creep, I am going to share a personal experience of going on a shopping trip for groceries.
Every two weeks, I get groceries. My process usually starts by writing a list of the necessary items I need for the house. Then, I estimate the amount I will spend at the store to see if I need to reevaluate my grocery list. When I finalize the list, I ask family members if there are any other items needed from the store. Upon final confirmations, I grab enough reusable bags for the grocery store haul. Then, I set off to the store to complete the grocery store task.
In an ideal world I would shop for exactly what is on my list and nothing else. Unfortunately, this isn’t usually the case. Fast forward to halfway through my grocery trip; I’ve received multiple calls for additional items: coffee, creamer, almond thin crackers, etc. I have the option of ignoring their requests or purchasing the items. Most of the time, I’ve planned for the risk of adding additional items. Therefore, I will purchase the extra items. There has only been a handful of times where I had to tell them it was not in my budget. Other times, I would have to indicate the item would have to wait until the next shopping trip or to pay me back for the additional item.
How does this apply to scope creep, stakeholders, and managing the issues of scope creep? It is applicable in the sense of being a task that needs to be accomplished within a timeline, has a budget, includes people, etc. The actual items I add outside of the initial list are the effects of scope creep. My stakeholders are usually satisfied with the grocery shopping trips I make because even with the additional items it is within the budget. Managing scope creep is difficult for me when it comes to grocery shopping. I have the want to get everything my stakeholders ask for, but I know to comply will impact the budget negatively. Therefore, I closely monitor the items I place into my cart to stay within budget even with scope creep affecting my shopping trip (Laureate Education, n.d.a).
Although I allow scope creep to happen within my shopping trip, I’ve planned for it based on experience. It doesn’t sneak up on me. I keep an open line of communication with my stakeholders updating them on the available or unavailable items, asking importance of the item, or if necessary. It may sound silly to think of scope creep within a shopping trip, but if a person has a lean budget being aware of this idea is important. Personal tasks or projects for school or business scope creep can happen in many situations, but the stakes are different. A contingency plan needs to be in place to battle scope creep whatever the situation to increase the chances of having a successful project (Laureate Education, n.d.b.).
Larson, R. & Larson, E. (2009). Top five causes of scope creep … and what to do about them. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2009—North America, Orlando, FL. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.a). Monitoring projects [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.b). Project management concerns: Establishing workflow [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu