Oct13

Beware of Feature Creep

We’re working on a SharePoint customization job with an educational institution, and the dreaded Feature Creep is rearing its head.

Feature Creep tends to happen when decisions are made by committee or when a defined scope of work isn’t agreed to and adhered to before work begins on a project.  In the case we’re working on, it is happening because the person who was our main point of contact has left the institution, and she has been replaced by an ad-hoc committee.  And they have some interesting ideas that were are not in the original scope of work.

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The SOW – The Scope of Work is Crucial to a Successful Project

While we’re striving to accommodate the requested changes in features and direction, it has become apparent that we’re looking at additional time and resources commitments that were not anticipated.  As such, the client has been advised that there will now be additional costs to them to achieve the new goal.

Fortunately they understood that these changes came after the agreement, and are on board with the new fees.  Frankly the changes they want make a great deal of sense, and probably should have been part of the original project plan.

Your IT firm can help you to achieve your goals, but the client is the one who has to describe the desired functionality and relevant goals.  After all, the client is the one with the problem to be solved and thus can best describe the issues.  That said, the IT Consultants should then look at what the client is trying to achieve, what budget they have available, along with desired timelines, and build a scope of work that addresses all of that.

Feature creep can hurt both sides – it can waste development efforts on the part of the technology team, and it can hurt the client in terms of costs, delays and lost productivity.

Before you embark on a large-scale IT project, be sure that you’ve received input from all of your stakeholders, and give them deadline to submit their ideas, desires and needs.  From that you should come to agreement, internally, as to what you would like to accomplish, and if it is feasible to accomplish all by a set date or with a set budget.  If not, you may need to break things down into phases.

If your organization takes these steps before you engage with your IT Consulting Firm, Unbounded Solutions or otherwise, you will be well positioned to have a successful project.

When you’re ready to

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