Sunday, February 17, 2013

Analyzing Scope Creep

Since I don't have any professional project management experience I will follow up on one of my previous blog post, Post Mortem of a Project to address scope creep affecting a project. When I was looking at purchasing a home, one of the items that I wanted was to be able to remodel certain parts of the house so I could add my own touch. When I purchased the house the first project I decided to do was to add a bathroom to the basement. I set a budget for the project that ended up being roughly $2,000 above my budget. 

I did a little bit of planning for the project and had some professional help a long the way. However, as I was progressing through the project I found myself adjusting my plan on the fly and thinking of different ideas and items to add to the bathroom. The relocation of the bathroom is what caused most of the scope creep. I ended up spending more time driving back and forth to Home Depot than I did actually working on the project in the initial phases of the project. Once I learned from my mistakes I was able to follow a plan of action and began to work more efficiently. 

My lack of planning led to me spending an exorbitant amount of time working on this project. As a result, I wasn't devoting as much attention to my homework and other aspects of my life as I did in the past. If I would of spent more time in the planning phase initially and consulting with subject matter experts (plumber, contractor, electrician, etc) I could of saved myself a lot of time and money (deadlines & budgeting). 

1 comment:

  1. Steven,

    I can readily identify with scope creep in remodeling projects and have frequently found myself adjusting my plans and adding features on the fly, too. This course has highlighted the value of having a plan of action and a defining the scope of work. Stolovitch (n.d.) maintains controlling scope creep is crucial. However, not all scope creep is negative. Sometimes going through the design process or encountering unplanned obstacle opens potential that could not be anticipated. Successful project management requires intelligent flexibility (Stolovitch, n.d.). For intelligent flexibility, Stolovitch (n.d.) recommends: (1) creating a plan that indicates how the project can be achieved and provide structure, (2) being flexible during the project life cycle changing plans as obstacles arise, and (3) remembering the why of a project is more important than the how.

    While flexibility is important and scope creep can at times improve a project, most of the time it is problematic. The scope of a project refers to the project’s parameters. To prevent scope creep the project parameters should be clearly defined in terms of deliverables and project boundaries (Villanova University, n.d.). Some of the main reasons scope creep develops are poor requirement analysis, not involving the client in the analysis and design phases, underestimating the complexity of the project, lack of scope control, and gold plating, which refers to “exceeding the scope of a project in belief that value is added” (Villanova University, n.d., para. 10). In remodeling projects I find that both underestimating the complexity of a task and gold plating are the main issues I deal with. Researching the project tasks and talking with an SME during the project define phase could mitigate underestimating the complexity of a task. Gold plating will require discipline to remain within the parameters of the project scope.


    Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
    Stolovitch, H. (n.d.). Project management and instructional design. [Video podcast]. Los Angeles: Laureate Education, Inc. Retrieved from