Reducing Scope Creep

The Scope Creep

According to, “Project Scope creep is also known as focus creep, feature creep, function creep, and requirement creep. Project scope creep in project management refers to uncontrolled changes or added objectives in a project’s scope. This phenomenon can occur when the scope of a project is not properly documented, defined, or controlled. It is generally considered a negative occurrence, and thus, should be avoided” (“Project scope creep,” 2014).

While I do not have formal experience as an ID or PM, I can provide a scenario. We are currently planning our 30th High School Class Reunion. Of course, we are scattered all over the place. However, with Facebook as a tool, it has made “finding” some people much easier. There are the few who refuse to go on FB so we have to find them the old fashioned way through detective work, phone calls, emails, calls to their parents. One who has been “missing” for a long time was found by a couple of us working together. We were so excited to find him and look forward to finally seeing him again!

So far, the biggest hurdle is nailing down a date. Many people have children or are just starting their families. Trying to work around 250 +/- family schedules is quite difficult. While we thought we had a date in the Fall, it turns out that it will now be late Summer.

Another issue was the venue. They had it nailed down but then budgets are tight and this would have been a doozy to fit into anyone’s budget since the economy has not been good for many people these last couple of years.

So to recap, we have changed the dates and the venue, so far. Now there are a lot of folks who would rather have it at another time. Personally, I think it would be grand to have two smaller reunions and if one can go to both, all the more fun! However, there will be no way of pleasing everyone. It’s not for a lack of trying as evidenced by the two major changes already.

The stakeholders in this case are the alumni and the Reunion Team. Although folks want to have a reunion, not many want to step up to the plate and actually do any of the work, for whatever reasons. The Team has done a great job trying to accommodate as many folks as possible. Getting a 100% turnout will not be possible. Since the dates have changed, the rates for hotels and gas may be cheaper. The dinner was changed to a venue with cash bar, dinner and pay as you go. Everyone is responsible for their own meal and drinks instead of the traditional “sit down” and all is included except for drinks.

Scope creep in this case, came in the very beginning. The Team made good use of their time and brainstorming sessions and came up with a venue, food, and drinks, that was a doable model for most folks attending. The Team did a great job of managing the scope creep, or function creep, and getting it in check ASAP.

The one constant in life is change. It is in how one manages the change that makes the difference. According to Portny (2014), “Avoiding scope creep is not possible. However, monitoring and controlling it, reduces some of the pain”.


Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Project scope creep. (2014). Retrieved from

5 thoughts on “Reducing Scope Creep

  1. LC says:

    Hi Katrina,
    this is a great example! Where everyone wants to tell you what you should do but not a lot wants to actually do something to help!
    I can really see the situation as I am currently organizing the 5 years of my high school graduation. I actually opted for another strategy as no one wanted to really participate in the organization, even if they were all interested in participating! I actually picked a date and send it to them, telling them we had a few months to organize our schedule to be there. As you mention, there is no way to satisfy every body, and when I first tried to find a date where everyone can come… I realized it was impossible. So I change the approach to selecting the date. It will take place in July so not sure how many people will come yet. But to be honest, the feedback is pretty good as I see a lot of people trying to empty their schedule to come now that a date is set.
    As Portny, et al. (2008) explain, someone needs to be in charge of the project and take some key decision for the project to move forward. The project was just not moving forward until we had the date so by making the decision, we can now start working on other parts of the project.
    Let’s cross fingers that everything will go well!

  2. Hi!

    In the past, it was up to the Class Representatives. Wonder where they went? The gals that are planning this have really stepped up to the plate!
    I went to 3 high schools in one school year. We are also planning another reunion. So far, not so good. Have some interest, 30 folks or so, but only one has stepped up and said they would help me plan (I am the why child – so I guess I am sort of the “leader: on this one. Oy.). I’m not local so I cannot do a lot of the foot work. Thank goodness for Mel! She is awesome! Now to set a date and venue! The rest is easy compared to those two!

    ~ K

  3. adamedinger says:

    Hi Katrina,
    When were were asked to write about Scope Creep, it took me a couple of days to come up with a good example from my own life. But now after reading a couple of people’s blogs, I guess I see it all of the time. The example I used was at work, but I wasn’t really involved in any of the decisions and only new about it because I felt the stress that was put on all of the employees.

    But I love your example, and makes me think of my yearly fantasy football draft. The same thing you described happens every year, and I have made multiple changes to how I set it up, in order to not let the scope creep effect it as much. To set up our fantasy football draft, we have to work with the schedules of 12 different people and their families. Each year we set up a weekend where we get together, have some male bonding, and finally draft our teams. And every year prior to this, we would set the draft up very late in the year, around the end of June or July. This meant we had less time to work with because families had already made their summer plans.

    One way that we have work to avoid this creep is we planned early. We asked all players to check their calendars for August in March, thus hopefully allowing them to schedule their family summer schedules around our fantasy football draft, and not the other way around.

    This is the first year, we’ve done this, I guess we’ll see if it helps.

  4. Hello there SilverClouds8,
    I look forward to following your Blog. I think this will be a very positive journey we take as we learn from one another.


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