Scope Creep


Scope Creep

“The natural tendency of the client, as well as the project team members, to try to improve the project’s output as the project progresses” (Portny et al., 2008, p. 436)

Scope creep is defined as “the natural tendency of the client, as well as the project team members, to try to improve the project’s output as the project progresses” (Portny et al., 2008, p. 436). I think the key words here are “natural tendency” as scope creep is something that is inevitable in almost any significant project. Perhaps this is due to projects not being thoroughly thought out before initiation or because team members and/or clients become more excited and actively involved as the project progresses. “Changes to the course may occur when course requirements are not properly defined, documented and controlled” (Lynch & Roecker, 2007, p. 96). Whatever the case, it is important for the project manager to stay focused on the goal as originally determined in order to not cause interruptions or delays.

I have had the “privilege” of working on a project that included a great amount of scope creep. I was asked to create a training presentation that would teach sales representatives how to promote a vacation package to a new resort in Myrtle Beach. The management team gave me brief details about the resort, qualifications, prices, dates the package was available, and deadlines. After asking a few questions, I began work on the design and development of the PowerPoint presentation. I worked diligently through the day and the next getting all of the slides to look uniform and to present the information clearly for the representatives. However, at the end of the second day, it was brought to my attention that we had added another resort and the available dates had been changed. I made the additions as quickly as possible and submitted the presentation to the manager for review. After showing the other members of the management team the work I had done, they had decided that they wanted all of the resorts at all of the locations presented in a similar fashion. A great time to give the presentation would be in two days when company executives would be visiting the call center. I was thrilled that my work was determined good enough to make such an important presentation, however it was never considered how much work would be involved. I worked day and night for the next two days ensuring that everything was perfect including the information, design, and handouts.

Everything in the training program ran smoothly and I was given many positive comments about my efforts. The presentation was incorporated into the new hire training program, was updated regularly, and was used for many years after its development. I was very proud of my work, however much of the stress I went through because of the various changes and additions to the project could have been alleviated. “Avoiding scope creep is not possible. However, monitoring it, controlling it, and thereby reducing some of the pain is possible” (Portny et al., 2008, p. 347). The project manager could have been more willing to add other resources such as additional trainers to help with the development of the presentation or perhaps been more willing to incorporate the training in stages to decrease the amount of work to be completed in such a short amount of time. Clients and project managers often get excited about the end product and simply look at the final goal. It is important though that they sometimes take a step back and determine if the changes and/or additions are beneficial to the success of the project. “The problem is that clients may not know what they want the finished product to look like until the design project is nearly over, so they make last minute changes and then you’re loaded with an extra day’s work, but not an extra day’s pay” (Cass, 2012). As the workers on a project, we must be willing to speak up to our clients or our project managers and explain how the extra work will affect the project.


Cass, J. (2012, February 14). Scope creep-how to avoid, manage, and kill it. Retrieved June 13, 2013, from

Lynch, M. M., & Roecker, J. (2007). Project managing e-learning: A handbook for successful design, delivery and management. London: Routledge.

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., & Sutton, M. M. (2008). Project Management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.




Comments on: "Scope Creep" (4)

  1. Patricia Beamon said:

    Hello Lori,

    I can relate to your blog post this week. I know how much time it takes to put a nice power point presentation together and it is not an easy task. It can be a very time consuming and tedious job. Portny, et al. (2008) discussed formal, informal, written and verbal communications. I wonder if there had been some type of formal written communication would the stakeholders have still requested you to prepare the additional power points. It seems that you should have been compensated for your additional work especially since they are still using those presentations today and for new employees. You obviously did an amazing job.

    Information shared through meetings is a great way to get input from stakeholders although some people view meetings as a big waste of time (Portny, et al., 2008). Some common frustrations with meetings Portny, et al. (2008) discussed were not being given sufficient advanced notice, not starting and finishing on time and no actions resulting from the meetings. Do you think that had there been a meeting you would have had more time to complete the task without being pressured and rushed? In the end the project was completed with success but did they really appreciate the extra effort it took to get the job done. When information is determined accurately and completely and shared effectively the chances of a project succeeding increases greatly (Portny, et al., 2008). You conquered the scope creep with a great product.


    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.

  2. Hi Lori,

    I can sympathize with you on the extra work load. After your clients saw your first presentation, they were excited and wanted all the other locations included. They usually cannot image all the extra hours it takes to complete the job. Project Managers and Instructional Designers have to “Identify all impacts the change might have on other project tasks”.(Portny, et al., 2008) When one aspect of a presentation changes, it can and usually will affect other parts of the project. This can take hours or even days to balance out.

    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.

  3. Chrystal McDonald said:

    Hello Lori,
    As you were building the presentation, did you feel that there were other programs that could’ve been utilized to present the information but in a different format? Was PowerPoint the recommended program from the Project Manager? Moreover, did you consider seeking assistance from other members after the addition of all the resorts? The other members can use your presentation as a model to create the information for their assigned resort. Then they could email it to you and you combine or make any changes as needed to ensure an effective and superior presentation.


  4. Hi Lori!
    I am following your blog for EIDT 6501!

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