The PMBOK® Guide describes scope creep as “adding features and functionality (project scope) without addressing the effects on time, costs, and resources, or without customer approval” (PMI, 2008, p 440) (Larson, & Larson, 2009).
The academic group project that experienced scope creep entailed an online collaboration between 5 group members, with each week a different team member having another role within the ADDIE model. For example, the team member with the least amount of ID experience, which was myself, had different tasks in the analysis phase, while the other team members with more experience were changed around through the design, development, implementation, and evaluation phases. The scope creep occurred when additional information was being added which had an impact on the other phases of the project. For example, since there were many individuals pitching ideas and no one idea was chosen, a team member chose his idea and started working on it. The next team member had to adjust to that idea without having agreed to it; it was a surprise change. This occurred when the instructional objectives had to be created.
The way the team dealt with the scope creep was through quick adjustment. Different team members helped the team member who had to adjust with advice about how to proceed, and with information and research.
I think a communication plan would have helped. We learned this the hard way in the middle of the project. If we took the time to create a communication plan since the start of project, the team member would have known how to proceed and who to communicate with, effectively avoiding what occurred. As stated by Project Management Institute (2013), some action steps are the following:
- Position communication as a strategic function: “Unless communication is approached through the context of what you’re trying to achieve, you risk staying too focused on the tasks instead of the big-picture communication goals,” says Atos’ Mr. Letavec.
- Define the target: “If you leave any one group out, you risk turning someone who could be a supporter into a detractor,” Mr. Letavec says.
- Make it a group effort: “Everyone has to participate in the communication process or you’re going to face a lot of surprises,” says Barrick’s Mr. Colborne.
Larson, R. & Larson, E. (2009). Top five causes of scope creep … and what to do about them.
Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2009—North America, Orlando, FL. Newtown
Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
Project Management Institute (2013). Communication: The Message Is Clear. Retrieved from