How to Avoid Falling Into Scope Creep

Brittany Beckmann No Comments

Scope creep—the sneaky tendency for projects to grow beyond their original bounds—looms for every manufacturing project. The best way to avoid unnecessary scope creep is to first understand what it is and what it is not.

Scope creep is not making changes to get what your project team needs. If your goal is a custom industrial enclosure and what you want changes, it’s OK! These agreed-upon changes can move the project forward toward production even if they slightly delay your time frame.

Scope creep is when a project loses direction through an excessive volume of changes either due to an uncontrolled expansion of goals and ideas during the design process, not having key decision makers involved on the team or both.

Managing and avoiding scope creep—and the increased costs, timeline extensions and general frustrations that go along with it—can be a challenging job. To help you to avoid this type of challenge, here are some ideas for how you can prevent it.

Team Composition

You need to build a robust project team and make sure to include the decision makers from the very start. This is crucial because their input will greatly affect the project outcome, and you definitely need their opinions sooner rather than later; otherwise you risk multiple rounds of changes and significant scope creep because their input wasn’t accounted for up-front.

Team Commitment and Understanding

Scope creep occurs most often when the entire team is not on the same page. Keeping everyone on the team involved for the duration of the project will create a solid foundation of understanding. Having a sound understanding of the project’s goals and time frame will keep everyone’s thoughts in line and get the project on the path to achieving your goals. This means that the same group is together at all of the project meetings. If this is not possible, we recommend that meeting notes are passed along to ensure everyone keeps up to date with what had been discussed.

Avoid “I’ll Know It When I See It”

A poor analysis of requirements—features, functionality, size, usage, durability and so on—at the outset of your project will definitely cause scope creep. It’s difficult to design to a vague, “I’ll know it when I see it” list of criteria.

Plan Your Project Timeline

Planning your project not only means identifying what design features and functionality you need, but also when you want the project to be completed. Laying out a timeline and saying “we will be finished brainstorming on X day” or “a design will be decided on by X date” helps manage project expectations and limits second guessing that can lead to scope creep.

Assign a Gatekeeper

Sticking to a solid price point and a predetermined timeline will help keep things on track. Having a member of your team assigned as the “coach” or “voice of reason” to enforce these boundaries will limit the chance of your project falling victim to scope creep.

With a custom design, you should get what you want, so don’t be afraid to make changes. Just keep in mind how to identify and manage the risk of scope creep and its potential impact on your timeline and costs.

Contact Ryan Arnold at to get your project underway!

Share this:


Manufacturing Blog Manufacturing Blog Industry Insights Industrial Manufacturers Manufacturing Wisconsin Manufacturers Quality Sheet Metal Fabrication custom industrial products design engineering custom enclosures Project Management LEAN standard enclosures electrical enclosures LEAN Management Powder Coating made to order IP Enclosures Midwest Manufacturers NEMA Enclosures lean principles Continuous Improvement Engineering build to order custom enclosure make to order CI Manufacturing Production Capacity Supply Chain Management Warehouse Waste bend radius cash flow dimensioning Continuous Improvement Teams Engineering for Manufacturing IEC 60529 IP Ratings IP Ratings Guide ISO ISO 13485 ISO 9001 ISO 9001 Certified Suppliers Laser and Punch Machine Lead Times Production Speed Safety Stock Sheet Metal Machine TRUMPF TruMatic 6000 TruMatic 6000 TRUMPF Trumpf Machine bend allowance custom electrical enclosures enclosures 5s B2B Case Study Customer Experience Customer Service Customer Service for B2B Damaged Freight Drive Enclosures Encourage Continuous Improvement FIRST Robotics Competition FMEA Flat Pattern Freight Claim Industry Ingress Protection Lean Communication Lean Teams NEMA 250 NEMA Ratings Paint Specification Standards Sheet Metal Layout Shipping Damages Tooling UL Ratings assembly process bend deduction branding chassis enclosure custom chassis fabrication custom chassis fabricator custom fab custom fabrication enclosure improving safety medical equipment chassis press brake robotics surface finish surface finishing standards theoretical sharp virtual sharp


    Recent Posts