Dealing With Creeps

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No, I’m not talking about that weird guy in your life that always seems to be around…I’m talking about project scope creep.  Creep is the broadening of a project scope and it can be a real nightmare to deal with sometimes.  Project creep comes in one of two forms, either you are like me and are constantly looking for more and willing to take on additional projects – even when you are too busy to handle them, or your client is asking for additional services or a change to your current project outline.  Both of these scenarios can be detrimental to you and your business if they are not dealt with in the right manner.


Give Me More!

Willingness to accept additional workload can be honorable, but if not evaluated properly prior to acceptance, you could be leading yourself straight to failure.  My project workload takes all my time as well as the time of my team, so saying yes to additional work puts a huge strain on all of us.  The additional stress can lead people to burnout if endured long enough and it can also cause a reduction in quality of deliverables on all your project.  Consuming your team’s time and effort beyond their capabilities leads to shortcuts and the ignorance of details.  I can speak from personal experience that the designs I do for engineers are lower quality when I am “in the weeds” as they say, compared to operating at a healthy level.  So next time you want to volunteer for more work – evaluate the current situation before making the call and remember there is a right way and a wrong way to fail, don’t make the bad call.

I Want More!

The other issue that can happen is when your client wants more from you than what was in the original scope.  To me this is a lot like being a waiter at a table, you go above and beyond to help your customers and even provide things that should be charged for in order to keep them happy.  An example would be providing extra bread for a customer to take home with their leftovers, it’s harmless enough and you do it to keep your customers happy.  While bread may be a minor expense to a restaurant, your time and efforts are a large expense for your company.  Providing free services can lead your operation straight to debt.  A few things you can do though to help keep your customers and your wallet happy are:

  • Clearly outline the scope of deliverables
  • Set a timeline for each item
  • Get a signature on the outline

We will always want to do more for our customers and I do believe that many times they do not realize what they are asking for is outside of the original scope.  So next time your customer wants to add on some additional services, be sure to remind them how grateful you are they value you and your abilities and send them a revised scope with price to review.  Being clear, concise and honest is not swindling clients into more money, rather it fosters a relationship with open communication  Now go out there, take on more work and treat your customers right without taking a hit at the bank!




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