In this video, learn how vague scope expectations can lead to scope creep, the importance of understanding project expectations upfront, and why you need to know the real problem you’re solving.
- Projects succeed and projects fail. Unfortunately, one failed project is one too many. Failure can be attributed to a number of factors, not the least being scope creep. Do you know what one of the major causes of scope creep is? Yup, you guessed it, poorly defined project expectations or goals. You need to know why they're doing this. What does the customer expect from your project? And what's the value they're expecting? Think of a project as a tool.
Let's say a hammer. No one buys a hammer just to have a hammer. They buy a hammer to drive a nail. The expectation is that the hammer will drive the nail. Your customer's buying what the project, the hammer, will actually produce, a nail in the wall. Okay, a nail in the wall is great, but is that all they expect? Give some thought to why your customer will want a nail in the wall. Focus less on what needs to be done and more on why you're doing it in the first place.
In this case, the customer wants you to drive a nail in the wall so they can hang a picture on it. Sounds simple enough, right? Just make sure you're crystal clear on the real problem you're solving. Problems arise when you try to read stakeholder's minds. I don't know about you, but I'm better at managing projects than I am at being a psychic. If you don't understand the purpose of driving the nail into the wall, you won't know if the nail will be strong enough to hold the picture your customer wants to hang on it.
Do you see how this can lead to scope creep? You can bet your bottom dollar that if you drive that nail without clarifying expectations, you'll need to pull out the original nail and replace it with a stronger one. But, with a good understanding of why the project is necessary, and what's expected, you should be able to begin defining what's in and out of scope. This way, you won't just be hammering any old nail into a wall. You'll be helping your customer hang a picture on the right-sized nail.
- What is scope creep?
- Causes of scope creep
- Preventing scope creep
- Learning from a case study