Are your developers getting irritable? Are they feeling stretched by a growing list of requirements? Are project sponsors discussing the project with users but without the project manager or business analysts at hand? Are more requirements being uncovered but not communicated to the design/development team? Are users saying "I don't know what's going on with the project" and that "no one is talking to me about what my department does"?
Then you may have the dreaded disease , "scope creep."
Scope creep, or feature creep, is common in projects that specify requirements at the start of a project. It also occurs in consulting when the consultant is engaged to complete a specific project, or when a builder is following an architect’s blueprints.
Scope creep happens all the time in design projects. The 87 blade Swiss Army Knife looks like one of those projects.
Scope Creep: Crazy or Natural?
Scope creep is the bane of project managers, team members and executive leadership. It leads to uncontrolled changes and an ever-expanding list of requirements. Such projects are never completed; they fail.
But scope creep may be natural. It may be the organic uncovering of details by business analysis, like peeling an onion. No one comprehends all the details at first glance, during Project Definition or even Functional Specification.
A failed project may result. This can appear as unintentional sabotage by people who feel ignored, or deadlines that keep extending. No one is immune to the effects -- users, managers, even programmers and designers.
Scope, Time and Resources
How to prevent these problems? Hiring experienced project managers may be the best way to end scope creep. An experienced project manager handles the dynamic interaction among scope, time, and resources. As scope naturally tries to expand, the project manager gracefully requests more time and resources, or limits the scope.