Well, I hadn’t . . . until recently.

Of course I turned to Google for help, and it  found 308,000 results in 0.23 seconds

I chose to view Wikipedia which said that:

Scope creep (also called focus creep, requirement creep, feature creep, function creep) in project management refers to uncontrolled changes in a project’s scope. This phenomenon can occur when the scope of a project is not properly defined, documented, or controlled. It is generally considered a negative occurrence, and thus, should be avoided.”

Gosh, “focus creep”? or “feature creep”?  Now it’s beginning to sound interesting, or even fun.
~

So, anyway, it relates to Project Management (my current passion) and results when a project spreads (creeps) out of control.  Scope that has controlled creep is, of course, called planning; so, I guess scope that has uncontrolled creep could be called un-planning.

~

Programming consultant Shelley Doll says that scope creep can kill a project.  Yes, KILL.  Hmm what would a dead project look like?

  • Wasted resources.
  • Dis-heartened work-team.
  • Corporate credibility damaged.

Yep – with casualties like that, kill might be an apt descriptor.

~

I’m thinking – if your project scope was somewhat jelly-like . . . you would not care so much about creep(age) because sideways movement might fit within the jiggling wiggling project scope.
~

Let’s say my project is to obtain a holiday gift for my husband (a wild, completely fictitious example).  The holiday can be celebrated whenever I obtain the gift, there is no budget (hey, if it’s great, it’s worth the price), and the gift can be made or purchased.

~

Project management practitoner Vince Budrovich says that every project involves five things: 1. Time, 2. Resources, 3. Expertise, 4. Quality and, 5. Scope – which balances the other 4.
In my example: Time = Any, Resources = Any, Expertise = Me, Quality = Any and, Scope is No Problem.
~

You probably know what happens next, so, you can skip to the dramatic conclusion, if you want.  But you would miss the excitement of watching the jelly-like project slip off of the project management table an splat on the floor in an icky gooey mess.

~
Because what happens next is:

  • 0
  • Zero
  • Nothing
  • Nada
  • Nil

Yep, scope creep KILLed this project.  I hear you asking: Why? and How? and, How can this be prevented in future projects?  Well, let’s begin with time

~

Plan Element –  Time = any

  • Possible risk factor: Procrastination will be unending and the project will never begin
  • Chance of this happening: Very High
  • Strategy: Set a date (i.e.: December 25th) even if the date is irrelevant, having no date leads to having no forward movement

Plan Element – Resources: Any

  • Risk: I will be unable to focus my gift search and will waste time wandering through the shops
  • Analysis: Chance of wasting resources = High
  • Strategy: Create a fictitious price range (i.e.: $20 – $100) the range can be wide, so don’t waste the resource of time refining it – just pledge that you will keep within the range.  Forcing a price range on the project scope means that I will avoid the Dollar Store and Tiffany’s which will definitely limit the number of shops I will wander through.

Plan Element – Expertise = Any

  • Risk: I might make a bad decision (pay too much) or act rashly (buy too much) or conduct stress-induced-shopping (buy something he already has).
  • Analysis: Chance of paying too much = high; chance of buying too much = extremely high; chance of buying something he already has = low, but possible.
  • Strategy: Chat with a friend.  You don’t really expect the friend to be able to solidify the jelly-like project scope; but, chatting with someone will help you process the information and diminish the chance for scope creep.

Plan Element – Quality = Any

  • Risk: If I had a jelly-like project scope I would finally get to the point where I really really needed to buy a gift (i.e.: late on December 24th) and I would rush out, go anywhere, buy anything and give it with a ho-hum feeling.
  • Analysis: Chance of it being a low quality experience = extremely high; chance of it resulting in a low quality purchase = medium; chance of it not being the best gift he has ever received = pretty-darn high.
  • Strategy: For heaven’s sake – plan!

~

Dramatic conclusion (this is where those of you who skipped ahead can begin reading again):
You really need to watch out for scope creep – so,

  • Plan
  • Manage your plan
  • Define your plan elements
  • Don’t creep away from your plan

So, let’s: review those 5 elements, change the jello recipe to 50 packs gelatin per 1 cup hot water, and hit those malls.  And hey, be on the lookout for scope creep – let’s be safely planned out there.

Advertisements