You may have heard us talk about “scope creep”, here at The Ops Authority, but maybe you aren’t familiar with what that term actually entails. So how does scope creep show up in your business?
Today we are talking about some real life examples of what happens with scope creep. Unfortunately there is rarely ever a happy ending when it comes to this concept.
We are having a free 5 day training on scope creep. If you are interested in learning what scope creep is, how to get away from it, how to communicate, and get some practical actionable tips, join us!
What is Scope Creep?
When you are a project manager, you are in charge of understanding the desired outcomes. To achieve those outcomes, you create a plan and a process, break those plans into tasks and you do that by understanding requirements. You end up with a list of tasks, and you are in charge of making sure they get done.
Once sign off on the project has happened, and the project has started, that is when scope creep usually emerges.
Scope creep is defined as a time when changes take place after a project (or contract) have begun. The changes can vary in severity of scope, but they have to be managed. It always disrupts the plan and causes disarray.
“You are servant hearted, and get joy from moving someone closer to success.”
But because you are servant hearted, you can also put yourself into a place of over-serving others and not paying attention to your own needs.
Your goal should always be to become your next best self, and when you are focused on over-serving someone else, you are avoiding your next best self. When scope creep happens, this is stripped away from you and that will lead to frustration.
Another reason this can be challenging is because you decrease your focus and become distracted. You have a plan, and now it has been thrown off.
Your job as a project manager is to help achieve goals faster, and become more profitable. If that is the goal you are trying to achieve and you are getting bogged down with scope creep and changes, then it puts you further from your goals because your resources are tied up in other places. Then resentment comes in and we get frustrated at the situation. Being servant hearted is a very commendable role, but I’m going to encourage you to have boundaries around it.
I’m going to share 5 actual examples from students in our DOO community.
Crossing Personal Boundaries
One student had a professional contract to provide financial services with a company, and started to build a relationship with the business owner. All of the sudden, she had requests that were out of her scope. The business owner started asking her to look at her personal finances.
“It’s so easy to find yourself in the friend zone… you have to remember you have a separation of professional and personal duties”
Another student had a similar story of supporting someone at a brick and mortar business, and the leader they were supporting asked them to run personal errands for them.
This student was serving a business as a consultant. At the end of the three month contract, the business owner was very confused because he thought she was going to continue on with him on retainer. She felt bad and found herself delivering day to day management, similar to a DOO instead of the role she was contracted for. Scope creep crept in and she felt uncomfortable in the role but chose to serve and ended up feeling frustrated.
One operator was leading a team and needed an additional resource, so she expressed this to the leader. However, the leader wanted to push ahead without hiring another resource because they felt they didn’t have the money and wanted to try to hit the milestones without the additional help. Of course what happened was that the operator ended up stepping into this role. This is an example of how a role can be expanded without having that intention.
Absence of a Stakeholder
As a project manager, you are helping leaders create a plan and achieve their goals. Stakeholders are the ones who have decision making responsibilities. In this case the stakeholder had gotten really comfortable after hiring this DOO, and she found herself in a situation where the stakeholder had felt so relieved to have a project manager that they started to remove themself. But the DOO was not an expert in this subject matter (they were an expert in project management), and the stakeholder still needed to make decisions. Still, the project needed to move forward and the DOO had to make decisions she wasn’t comfortable making because of the absence of the stakeholder.
Values are at the center of everything. These are the things that make you unique, the things that you stand for, and the things you associate yourself with. When this student had gotten into a relationship with a business owner they were only serving one avatar. After a while, the client expanded their avatar without the project manager knowing, and it was not aligned with the values of the project manager. It put her in a place where she felt unethical to support the client moving forward.
“Because the project manager had never spoken about their values, it was going to be a very difficult conversation.”
I want to help you to see how you can create structure so that you can avoid scope creep. Make sure to sign up for our 5 day training!
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