When I was given the assignment to discuss a time when a project I was working on fell to the pressures of scope creep I just stared at the screen and felt my frustrations rise. My limited exposure to this field was once again proving to make my assignments far more difficult than need be. So I offer the caveat that if you are purusing this blog to gain a wealth of knowledge about this problem I will not guarantee that this is the spot for you. But I will do my best in the following lines to offer you some real life perspective on scope creep...
Let me start by explaining that scope creep is the "natural tendency of the client, as well as project team members, to try to improve the project's output as the project progresses" (Portny, 2008).
I am at heart a minimalist. I like to keep things neat, clean, simple and yet beautiful. When I was early in my teaching career I took on the challenge of putting together a prom on a shoestring budget in the rundown gymnasium of a nonpublic special education school.
The scope creep came from me. As I worked on the project I was flooded with more and more ideas that would make the prom even better. I was constantly thinking about the undeniable fact that this would be the pinnacle of social situations for many of the kids. With all of my changes I also adopted "an informal process of handling requests for change" (Portny, 2008). What I could have used aside from a calming dose of reality was a change control system, which is a "well controlled, formal process whereby changes can be introduces and accomplished with as little distress as possible" (Portny, 2008).
Now don't get me wrong, the prom was a huge success. The Secret Garden theme brought tears to the eyes of several parents. But by the end of the process I was completely burnt out because I had to take on the majority of the changes on my own. By taking a few simple steps a lot of the stress and strain of those couple of months could have been far less stressful.
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.