Scope Creep: The Silent Killer

Scope Creep: The Silent Killer

When it comes to product development, whether it's digital or not, there's an on-going conversation between the person behind the actual production and the person guiding the process. This is important because it helps to clarify the vision, validate the work as part of the creation process, and ensure everything stays on track. Unfortunately, it's inevitable that somewhere along the line, a request will be made that impacts the original scope. This is called "scope creep" and it needs to be managed carefully.

As a customer, it's important to understand that the estimates you receive from your developer are often based on relatively short conversations. Things often change during a project, it's just a matter of the degree to which that change impacts the overall project - whether that is a change in the price, the time it will take to complete, or the overall quality of the finished product. Price and time almost always go hand-in-hand; a change will nearly always affect these two elements because it's a different component than what existed in the original plan. The quality can be impacted by a request, as well. This is something that a good developer will recognize, particularly if it will cause usability issues.

As a developers and project managers, we must evaluate what that change means. Our answer is never an emphatic "no", but we have to communicate what a change might mean to the project on the three indicators mentioned in the previous paragraph. Sol Minion Development focuses on, in the case of new products, the minimum viable product ("MVP"). We focus on getting the MVP ready for production as quickly as possible (we keep our timelines in most cases to approximately 3 months or less) so the client can start getting feedback on the platform and adjust their strategy and features to accommodate the market early on. In order to do this, we often have to give a "not now, but we'll add this to the roadmap" answer to our customers. This isn't a "no" and it's not personal. There's a larger discussion that needs to take place to determine whether that change is truly a priority that must be part of the MVP or if it is something that can be released in a future upgrade to the digital product. Based on the outcome of that conversation, the feature can either be integrated into the scope (through appropriate modifications to cost and/or timeline) or added to the product's roadmap for a future release.

We assist companies of diverse sizes with digital product development, from loan workflow management applications to lead generation to customer portals. Each company is different, but the end result is always the same: a quality digital product that can grow with their needs.

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