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How To Manage Scope Creep

Scope Creep is when a project goes beyond its initial goals leading to larger expenses, delays, and often a worse result. Not all scope creep is bad as new customer requirements are discovered and prototyping discovers new opportunities. However, most of the time it leads to moving target that drifts away from the initial intention and can ruin entire projects.

Define the Goals

Your product should have an ideal customer in mind from the beginning. You should be communicating with examples of that ideal customer to figure out what matters to them and motivates them in a purchase. Use this feedback to set defined goals for the product that will guide the project. Be aware that customers will often contribute to scope creep by ask for too much from the product. Instead it is important to focus on the core functions and benefits that motivate them to make the purchase.

Focus on the MVP The Minimal Viable Product is the most basic version of your product that will still meet the customer needs and sell. While hardware involved more fixed costs than software there still is opportunity for interations and future improvements. Features can be added down the line that didn’t make it into the first MVP as needed. Unnecessary features added to the MVP can sink the whole product line though so it’s important to stick to the core function as much as possible.

Lack of Initial Product Viability

Sometimes the initial product concept can turn out to not be viable and additional features are added to make up for the shortcomings. While this may be tempting, it rarely remedies the problem. It’s critical to establish the strong consumer need from the beginning and continuously reaffirm the need throughout the project. Additional features will never make a product sell if the core functionality is not viable.

Manage Change Control

Changes in the scope should be documented and impacts to costs and time frames communicated. Sometimes seemingly small featur

es can have big consequences since they interact with the rest of product functionality and add additional layers of complexity and risk. Documenting the initial scope and changes to that scope helps keep the whole team clear on what the initial concept was and the additional costs involved.

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