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Scope Creep

How to Manage Scope Creep—and Even Prevent It From Happening?
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How do you manage/prevent scope creep? Strictly adhere to project change management practices, from the beginning of the project.

Scope creep is generally in indicator that you either don't have project change management set up, or you do but it was not followed.

Unfortunately, you can't always catch scope creep before it happens. When this happens, you can try and reject what has been done, but all too often it is accepted, which only perpetuates scope creep. It comes down to clearly defined and enforceable change management practices that all on the project are aware of.

A comprehensive and well defined project scope is key to managing scope creep.
It is also imperative that an MoC process is fully implemented and clearly understood by all project team members in order to manage and evaluate any potential changes before they impact the project.

With these elements in place potential deviations from the original project are recognized as such, and processes are followed to ensure each change is evaluated and managed appropriately.

A smaller, but equally valuable component is the implementation of a responsibility matrix (RASCI, RAPID, PARIS etc.) and communication plan.
This ensures that all applicable stakeholders are consulted for input, and identifies the individual with the appropriate level of authority to make the ultimate decision regarding any change.

Make sure your stakeholders understand and *agree to* the scope of the project, including deliverables; this might require a separate meeting with stakeholders. Simply writing this information in project documentation often isn't sufficient. I've seen scope creep occur because stakeholders were honestly confused about the project's scope, and I've seen projects where stakeholders sneakily tried to change the project scope without going though the formal change management process. The Project Manager must address this latter problem by making stakeholders rigidly adhere to the agreed upon scope, or use the formal change process to change the scope.

When documenting and agreeing to the scope of the project (before or during project startup) it is often helpful to also document the things that are NOT in the project scope.

If you are thinking Agile, it is more important to deliver what the customer wants than what was documented at project startup. In this case it is perfectly OK that things are added to the project backlog during the project.

Independent of if the project is Agile or traditional, I feel that it is very important to make sure the scope changes are visible and agreed to (not just happening).

Project Change Management process. Any other thing has no sence, in my humble opinion and personal experience.

Thanks to all for the insight.

Scope creep can be better prevented during Scope finalization and Customer Sign off, and during inspections as well by requesting Change orders if necessary

Most/All Project start with little knowledge/clarity and many unknowns , as things progress people get new ideas/get clarity things changes.

We can’t avoid scope creep these days but can minimize and have better Change Management to control only required changes get through.

Aejaz - Project managers should keep in mind that scope creep is inevitable in any project and preventing it altogether is not realistic. The goal of a project manager should be to control and manage the changes systematically and not let it get out of hand. Control the scope before the scope controls you.

Prevention is the best cure for scope creep. Taking the extra time to gather requirements can help you understand and develop a well-defined project management scope that minimizes scope creep. You will also be better prepared to identify the signs of scope creep and proactively manage it.

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