Managing the Creeps

While some of your team members may occasionally seem like creeps to you, that is not creep management I am talking about. Creeps here refer to minute changes in the project due to the obscure, and for awhile unnoticeable, actions of team members. Many of these go undetected until their cumulative effect creates a problem that raises its ugly head. You need to be aware of four types of creeps so you can take the appropriate management action. They are described in the sections that follow.

Scope Creep

Scope creep is the term that has come to mean any change in the project that was not in the original plan. Change is constant. To expect otherwise is simply unrealistic. Changes occur for several reasons that have nothing to do with the ability or foresight of the client, the project manager, or a project team member. Market conditions are dynamic. The competition can introduce or announce an upcoming new version of its product. Your management might decide that getting the product to market before the competition is necessary. Scope creep isn't necessarily anyone's fault. It is just a reality that has to be dealt with. It doesn't matter how good and thorough a job you and the client did in planning the project, scope creep is still going to happen. Deal with it!

Your job as project manager is to figure out how these changes can be accommodated — tough job, but somebody has to do it. Regardless of how the scope creep occurs, it is your job as project manager to ...

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