Lessons Learned Part 2: Effectively Managing Scope Creep
Welcome back to our segment Lessons Learned, where we discuss certain issues that arise during the construction project life cycle and how we chose to handle those situations. If you missed the first part, please check out our last segment where we detail how to solve the issue of air trapped in a plumbing system. The goal of this segment is to assess our approach to managing these issues and to continue to improve on our management processes. We hope that you also learn with us and prevent possible issues from occurring in the future on your own projects. This week’s topic: scope creep.
What Is Scope Creep?
Scope creep in project management is defined as the changes or additions that lead to an uncontrolled growth in a project’s scope at any point in time after the project is initialized. Scope creep usually occurs when the project scope is not clearly defined or controlled at the start of a project.
How Did Scope Creep Affect Our Project?
In a recent project, our firm was tasked with overseeing the removal of sealant on the building’s exterior, repainting the building, and replacing the sealant. Because the scope of work was not clearly defined, the client began to request certain changes and additions to the project that would greatly affect the project’s scheduling and budget. Changes the client requested included the addition of fencing with gates in certain areas, which were defined as substantial increases to the scope of work. Because of the significant amount of decision making these additions entailed, such as design, materials, and compliance, the project scheduling was at risk of exceeding the expected date.
Solving Scope Creep
As we realized that scope creep was becoming a significant impediment to the success of our project, we sought out ways to handle the issue and continue progressing through the project. Our solution was to first sit down with the client and explain how these additions would affect the project’s cost and scheduling requirements, and, after reaching a mutual understanding, agree to treat all these external changes as separate projects with their own budgets and scheduling. As these additions were not critical to the completion of the current project, they were tabled to be completed at a later date.
It is imperative to understand scope creep and effectively manage it in a way that creates agreement and understanding between the company and the client. Overall, the client became well-informed of the repercussions of retroactively making additions to the project scope, and together we reached an agreement to minimize any further complications. Consider using this solution when facing the issue of scope creep in your organization.
What do you think about our solution? Feel free to leave a comment below, or contact us if you have any other questions.