I worked on a project that was eventually terminated due to scope creep causing enormous cost overruns. The Project Manager did not stay within the scope. This happened slowly over time like a small crack in a dam leaks water. Change requests kept coming in and they were all getting approved. The cost of the project just kept going up. Change requests are a part of every project it happens. This project had change requests beyond sanity. We were replacing a system with the same system in the end if we did not pull the plug on it and cut our losses already.
Some causes of scope creep:
(1) Poorly defined requirements that don't clearly highlight the objectives you want to achieve. You need your deliverables defined clearly.
(2) Weak change control.
(3) Sponsors that are weak.
(4) Selecting the wrong vendor solution.
(5) A Project Manager that does not raise the flag when he sees the project spiraling out of control. He thinks he can salvage it.
(6) Having no sign-off from all parties that have a stake in the project. They need to speak up if they feel the proposed project falls short of their objectives. Hash it out before you formally kickoff the project.
My granddaughter loves playing Minecraft. The creepers job is to ambush players. Players can avoid creepers by running away or facing them to get rid of them. You can runaway from the creepers to avoid them, but they are still out there looking to cause trouble. Exterminate the creepers to get rid of them. The same goes for scope creep in project management. Don't allow numerous changes without challenging it. Face it head on and ask for a compelling justification. If your given a weak justification terminate that change request.
(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on DrakeSettsu.BlogSpot.com in August 2015)
The Statement of Work also known as the SOW that a vendor provides needs to be thoroughly reviewed to ensure that all expected deliverables are there. The information in the SOW will also help to plan out the preparation work prior to the vendor performing their work. It also helps to plan out post SOW follow up work.
Read The Vendor Statement of Work for more SOW information.