# 4 – Scope creep. Don’t let it happen! This is another critical success factor that is well within your control. You absolutely have the power to manage scope creep. Before jumping right into design and development, ensure you understand the requirements. Talk to stake holders and end users. Document and insist on official sign-off of expected deliverables up front. During the iterative prototyping process, resist the temptation to add bells and whistles that were not asked for. Instead, I recommend, noting and adding them to a future enhancements list that you can discuss with the client upon successful delivery of the changes within scope. Not only does it make you look good for meeting delivery time-lines, but you may just increase your opportunity to extend your engagement by showing this initiative. Win-win.
The same goes for project managers. You need to keep close tabs on development in progress through regular status meetings with your team. Ensure the primary focus on in-scope deliverables is strictly adhered to. Again, document possible future enhancements, but resist the temptation to throw them in as a bonus. Remember, they will also add complexity and additional end-user testing elapsed time that was not accounted for in the original project estimates. Don’t deviate from the in-scope deliverable estimates, you can’t hit a moving target!
From my experience, use of an automated change management/bug tracking tool can be priceless. This will allow you and your team to quickly document proposed value added enhancements recognized during the detailed design or development process, and just as quickly get back to working on the next priority in-scope task.