Analyzing Scope Creep

Posted: June 15, 2015 in Instructional Design

This week, I am analyzing scope creep and why it is important for project managers to control the scope of a project.  According to Portny et al. (2008), scope creep is “another common source of change 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”.  Request for changes in a project will occur and cannot be avoided, however, a project manager can monitor, control, and reduce some of the problems resulting from scope creep.

Based on my previous experiences in the workplace related to scope creep, I have learned that it is vital to have a change control system in every project plan and it is necessary to obtain signoffs on changes approved in writing.  A change control system “is a process whereby changes can be introduced and accomplished with as little distress as possible” (Portny et al, 2008, p.346).  On my project team, when there is a request for a change, a change request form is submitted which details the changes required.   The project plan will get updated to reflect changes in the budget, schedule, resources, deliverables, etc.  Also, we try to release new versions of our software on release schedules to manage some the enhancement or change request for improvements.  Several years ago, our group was small and we did not have a formal change control system in place.  When our group experienced rapid growth, managing changes became more challenging.  There were times when the clients would get upset because of misunderstandings in the changes requested, delays in the projects, and additional project cost, etc.  We had to implement a formal change control system to minimize these problems.

In addition, I have learned that it is important to consider how changes can impact other project tasks or system functionality.  Changes to any software application need to be tested thoroughly before being pushed to production.  If not tested and implemented properly, a change can break something else in the system that can cause issues as well.  Therefore, it is very important that project managers effectively cope with change and scope creep.


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.


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