Scope creep (sometimes known as "requirement creep" or even "feature creep") refers to how a project's requirements tend to increase over a project lifecycle.
For e.g., what once started as a single deliverable becomes five; or a product that began with three essential features, now must have ten; or midway through a project, the client's needs change, prompting a reassessment of the project requirements.
Scope changes are typically caused by key project stakeholders changing requirements or internal miscommunication and disagreements.
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Scope creep is quite common among Marketing & advertising agency, IT agency, Consultancy agencies, and every other line of business that requires a scope of work document to be in place before starting the work.
It has been found that scope creep takes away about 15-17% of an agency or a freelancer's income. Our Product Clientjoy CRM initially kickstarted from being an IT agency itself, where we experimented with hundreds of methods to deal with scope creep.
Listed below are 3 methods that never failed to work.
Ask your clients to fill out a change request form. Call it something nice like - Making <Project Name> better or Upgrading <Project Name>
This form should have the following questions:-
1. What impact will this change have?
2. What priority should this change take among the existing list of tasks?
3. What are the benefits of this change?
Once you ask your clients to write down the answers, you will be surprised that some changes won't stay as important. If it seems difficult for you to ask your clients to fill out that form, propose a zoom call, share your screen, and ask those questions while filling out that form. This shall do the trick and keep the Project streamlined.
Get your clients to agree to a priority matrix early on in the Project. At the start of any project, everything is like the ending of a Disney movie. It is just perfect.Annoyingly perfect, I might add.
When things are hunky-dory, ask your client to rank Budget, Timeline, and Scope in descending order of priority. This means that the higher something is on the priority matrix, the fewer changes will be made to the Scope.
Ask your clients What out of Budget, Timeline, and Scope are not editable or non-negotiable later on.
Because even if Scope is not No. 1 on that list and the client says Budget or Timeline as No. 1 priority, and they are not editable later on, you can argue that editing the Scope will impact your budget or timeline, which isn't recommended.
So, no matter what is No. 1 on that list, you can always use the priority matrix to suit your arguments in terms of not making changes to the previously agreed-upon Scope.
Golden Statement: Any Additional effort shall be charged as per the requirement.
This small line in your email or agreement will help you safeguard yourself from a scope creep.
Scope Creeps usually reveal themselves when some significant progress has been made on the Project; this is when an agency or a freelancer who has invested a considerable amount of time cannot go back on the Project and gets bottlenecked, thereby agreeing to a scope creep. In such situations, only the Golden Statement can save you.
"The longer a project, the greater the chance for scope creep to occur."
If any other methods have worked for you, please feel free to email them to us at email@example.com
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Yash did Mechanical Engineering and worked as an Investment Banker before founding a Tech Agency that grew to 55 people team offering SaaS, FinTech and E-Commerce Web & Mobile app Development. He currently serves as Chief Executive at Clientjoy - a platform that helps 13K+ Agencies & Freelancers in 90+ Countries acquire and retain happier clients.
About the Editor & Reviewer
Sibu is a Compulsive Articulator, a CX Enthusiast & an Intrapreneur in Clientjoy a platform that helps 13K+ Agencies & Freelancers in 90+ Countries acquire & retain happier clients. He completed his B.Tech in Computers & there on went onto starting up a Digital Marketing & IT Agency which was later on acquired for over a deal size of $250k.
Mansi works as a Content Manager at Clientjoy, a Sales CRM & Growth Engine for freelancers & agencies. When she's not busy working, she keeps herself busy learning or binge-watching her latest sitcom obsession or writing about it.