Scope Creep: Beware of the Vortex

June 8, 2014

Scope creep will kill you and any initiative. And while you already know this, it is so common in performance-minded individuals to forget this basic point and start making a program, task, or project far more difficult than it needs to be. Beware of the vortex known as scope creep as you and your colleagues can easily be sucked in.

Vortex SeaKeep your initiative simple and clear and with bite-size, doable chunks. You can even keep it contained by using the classic Phase I and Phase II method, and put off the fancy idealism until Phase II.

There are two types of people in organizations and teams: the Simplifiers and the Complicators. Unfortunately, my experience has shown me that the ratio is about 75% Complicators.  Tell the Complicators “thank you” and remember you are not obliged to make everyone happy. Any program that can be released on-time with basic functional requirements exceeded will gain more traction and win more adoption than the program that tries to meet all needs and draws out for extra months or more.

Idealism is asking for a trip into the vortex. Get a base hit first. You can think big, but don’t always swing big. Here are some practical swing thoughts:  A) After your goal or purpose is established, if your scope includes more than three to four objectives (maybe five at most), you are likely asking for trouble.  B) If you can’t deliver something measurable in 30 days, or 90 days, you are likely asking for trouble.  C) If your team grows too large and you are trying to make decisions or integrate feedback with greater than a core group of six or eight maximum, you are likely asking for trouble.  D) If your initial white paper, slide deck or proposal is greater than two to five pages, you are likely asking for trouble.

Don’t get sucked into the Scope Creep Vortex and you’ll be recognized as someone “who gets stuff done” and makes things easier for your organization.


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