Dealing with Scope Creep in Web Design

Scope Creep

Have you ever committed your time and energy to a project only to discover your responsibilities growing far beyond the initial requirements? “This isn’t what I signed up for,” you think to yourself. “If only I’d known what I was getting in to.” You have experienced scope creep, and whether you run into it in your personal or profession life, we all fall victim to it at one time or another.

When left unattended, scope creep in web design, as in any business, causes stress and costs time and money. The solution? Learn how to identify and attend to potential scope creep situations immediately. You will improve communication with clients, keep your web design projects on track, and may also turn a potential project management problem into a new business opportunity.

What is Scope Creep?

Scope creep is a project management term applicable to just about any undertaking in work or life. It results when the magnitude of a project exceeds or creeps past the boundaries of its original goals and objectives. It has a few aliases, including mission creep and requirement creep.

Characteristics of Scope Creep in Web Design

Scope creep takes on many different appearances depending on the nature of your business and projects. For web designers, clients often want to add additional features to their original request as they learn about them from colleagues or when they visit other websites. Some of the common forms of scope creep include:

  • Fresh images on each site visit
  • Unlimited image slideshows
  • Page counters
  • Web copy and content
  • Additional pages
  • Blogging services
  • Social media account set up and management
  • Periodic updates
  • SEO services

These are things that many clients may assume are included in designing or redesigning a website. While these features and services can certainly be offered to your clients, be very careful about casually adding them as the project progresses.

Instead, identify each one in the early discussions with your clients. If they want these services included, add them to your contract or project agreement. Be very specific; if you offer periodic site updates, how often is “periodic”? Most importantly, list them as individual items on the quote and charge for them.

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