As the purveyor of everything IT, I am charged with making sure projects do not suffer from the dreaded scope creep.

As managers we know the productivity of the resources involved and how to allocate them, sometimes the requirements gathering fails and so does estimating costs and scheduling deliverables. This is often the case with application development. As the project moves through the software development life cycle (SDLC), requirement changes become increasingly more expensive and deliverable times become more protracted. This leads to project failure or cost/schedule overruns. Congratulations – your project has been diagnosed with “scope creep”.

What causes scope creep?

  • Users make significant changes to the system after the requirements have been established.
  • Users do not know what they want.
  • Users do not know how to communicate what they need.
  • Users realize what they need only after the demonstration of a prototype.
  • Users do not want the system and use scope creep to perpetually stall the completion of the application.

How to prevent scope creep?

  • Gather initial requirements definitions in a statement of work (SOW) and have users sign off.
  • Properly maintain expectations to senior management and end-users.

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