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Scope Seep Says Hi

Scope creep happens when the client decides to add new expectations of us after the deal was made. The project starts to grow or “creep”, with the expectation of the budget staying the same, or at least not growing as fast.

However, as ugly as it is, that old “creepy beast” is at least very easy to spot. This is in sharp contrast to today’s imaginary beast: scope seep.

And people

Introduced by Alan Weiss, scope seep is the bloating of the project caused by us volunteering to do additional tasks that nobody asked for, and quite possibly nobody will notice.

We throw them in because we feel a need to justify our value beyond the sales talk, or worse, simply to make the project more interesting.

I’m writing this because I realized that I probably did this on every project I was ever hired for, and I really shouldn’t have on some of them. 

So my message is not “don’t feed the scope seep”, because it can be a handsome beast to display on your shoulder. It’s possible to get a good reputation because of it.

But please be aware that scope seep exists and affects the weight of the client’s expectations of you in the future.

“Overfeeding” will lead to burnout, so I suggest you think about it as if you have a monthly maximum of “seep feed” chips. Quitely set a budget, and you will get into a healthier habit of thinking twice about every single one spent.

It seems to be working fine for me.

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