It’s normal for additions to pop up or for people to want to alter what was initially discussed during a web development project. Scope shifts, on the other hand, can easily accumulate, causing the project to miss deadlines, go over budget, or both! This article discusses five ways to avoid scope creep before, during, and after a web development project.
What Is Scope Creep and How Does It Affect You?
Scope creep occurs when a project’s necessary deliverables are continually added or changed, resulting in a negative effect on the project’s budget, schedule, resources, and customer satisfaction. Scope creep happens when a project’s deliverables aren’t clearly established at the outset, but taking these measures will help us avoid the project spiraling out of control.
Begin by signing a contract
This may seem like the most obvious rule of the bunch, but having a clearly outlined contract that sets out your project’s deliverables is required before you begin any work. This contract will give you a clear picture of what to expect in the project, from the timetable to the overall cost, and it will help you manage the scope by laying out the deliverables in writing. Discovery, Design, Creation, and Deployment are the four stages of our web development projects. For each step of a Dummy Company contract, there are typically simple deliverables. You will use the contract as a guide to see what deliverables and functionalities were decided upon after it has been signed and accepted.
Make a Timeline
After the contract has been approved, the next step in preventing scope creep is to create and adhere to a project schedule. You will work with your project team to allocate tasks based on the deliverables and set project goals for each step if you have written deliverables for each phase. Not only can having a timetable help you stay on track with your deadlines, but it will also provide you with goals and dates to look forward to, which will keep everyone involved in the project engaged! When there are competing tasks, this is also a great way for the project team to handle the pipeline.
Schedule an Appointment
Once you’ve accepted the scope of work and timetable, the next move is to schedule a call with your partners and our project team. This means that everyone is on the same page and allows you to address any questions or problems you might have before getting started. This contains slides that detail each project process as well as a proposed timeline. For each phase of the project, we also provide graphics to demonstrate client participation. This informs clients about what is expected of them and when it is expected, as well as key deadlines that must be met to keep the project on track.
Thorough Discovery of all Functionalities
Identifying all of the functionalities that will be needed to achieve the website’s target is one of the most difficult aspects of properly scoping a web development project. The activities that your users take or perform on your website are referred to as website functionalities. The complexity of these issues is easily ignored early on, and it is often a source of scope creep later in the project. Field validation, confirmation messages, and email alerts are all needed for even the most basic communication medium.
It’s important not only to identify what functionalities the project requires early on, but also to ensure that all of the specifications are addressed and decisions are taken before construction starts. Allowing yourself time to ask questions during the exploration process will encourage you to explore different options and weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each path, allowing you to make choices that you are more secure in and making you less likely to change your mind later!
Documentation and Communication
Regardless of other factors, scope creep is almost certain to occur if the client and project teams do not communicate effectively during the project. Internal communication among team participants is essential to ensure that we all stay on track, and communication between project managers and client stakeholders is required to keep everyone informed about project progress. We help maintain consistent contact in a web development project in the following ways:
- Use a project-specific collaboration platform that involves all members of the project team (such as Slack or Microsoft Teams).
- Between each project step, hold formal “handoff” meetings to ensure that any questions between team members are resolved.
- Send project recap emails at the end or beginning of each week, detailing what was accomplished that week, the next steps, and what deliverables or assets the client team still requires. This summary also provides the approximate and cumulative time spent on each project process, allowing you to see if the project is on track and within budget.
- Throughout the project, keep track of all contact and meetings. This not only allows you to go back to discussions from weeks or even months ago, but it also allows you to share the same collection of notes, ensuring that everyone is on the same page during a conference call.
- Trying to keep within a project’s reach, budget, and schedule doesn’t mean that things can’t be improved in the future. If you have an idea but don’t have the means to implement it in your current project, write it down! A “Wish List” is a perfect way to organize your priorities and makes it simple to revisit them when the time comes.
Scope creep can turn a web development project into a frustrating experience for everyone involved. Good communication paired with clear and thorough documentation will help keep your project on time and on budget.