October 14th, 2016

How do you prevent scope creep in web projects?

project manager leaning on desk, looking at laptop with papers on desk

Stay within your budget and don’t change anything.

Scope creep forms one of the most common concerns at some point during almost any web project. You start out with a plan all parties feel comfortable about, work starts moving along, and suddenly… changes sneak into the project, blowing the budget out of the water and doubling everyone’s workload.

No one likes scope creep. The web developers feel stressed by unplanned add-ons, and the client feels anxious about a budget that seems out of control. It can be a flashpoint between the two parties, and in extreme situations can threaten the success of the project. So, with so much on the line, how do you prevent scope creep in web projects?

Involve all key decision makers.

Who needs to sign off on this project at the end before it can be considered complete? All stakeholders must be present at the beginning to ensure their needs are met. If a key party member doesn’t see the project until it is nearly complete and wants to make major changes, those revisions become extraordinarily expensive very fast. It’s better to take the time at the beginning to be sure you meet everyone’s needs rather than find out at the end that there’s a problem.

Hold explicit conversations at the start of the project.

The more you work out at the beginning of the project, the more smoothly the project will flow. An experienced web design team will know which questions to ask to understand the majority of key information. But there are some things they won’t know unless you tell them. Withholding critical information is a sign of significant trust issues. If you feel that way about the person working on your project, ask yourself why. Bring those concerns forward before they sabotage your project.

Let the web team manage the project.

Some companies, especially smaller ones with a larger percentage of their budget invested in the project, grow understandably anxious about the progress of their website. With so much at stake, they have a hard time stepping back and letting their web developers do the work. As a result, they often create more problems and eat up budget by becoming over-involved and hindering the smooth flow of the project. It can be a hard move to make, but the best decision you can make to prevent scope creep in web projects is to trust your developers to do the work you hired them for.

We can’t prevent scope creep in web projects every time.

As web developers, we know that we won’t be able to prevent scope creep in every instance. Unforeseen developments happen sometimes, and we know we will have to work with our clients to iron them out. But clients can help mitigate a lot of bloat if they approach the project with some project management savvy. Make sure the right people are involved, lay all cards on the table, and trust your team. You will reap the benefits when your project comes in on budget.

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