This is a guest post by Eric Weisbrot from JW Surety Bonds.
Scope creep is a silent killer for projects. Even the most seasoned professionals can easily miss rising costs and scope since they tend to slowly grow over the life of the project. Luckily, there are many simple ways to manage scope creep before it gets out of control.
An effective project kick-off meeting is a major way you can tackle sources of scope creep. This meeting is the time to establish a realistic schedule for your project along with reasonable deliverables and outcomes. Getting this in writing in your project charter can hold both you, your client and stakeholders on both sides accountable to the scope you first agreed on.
Your first meeting is also the time to manage expectations and misunderstandings your client might have with your team’s work process. Answering questions in the beginning and ensuring mutual understanding can cut down on questions, feedback and project changes down the line.
Even so, the best project charters and most efficient kick-off meetings can only do so much. You’ll inevitably run into times where your client or other stakeholders request a change to a project that’ll change your original scope. All changes aren’t bad. Sometimes they’re necessary when legitimate unforeseen circumstances occur. They become an issue when they stack up over time or don’t bring value to the project.