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Scope Creep - What is it and How to Manage it With a Solid Contract

You scored yourself a client! 

You hashed out all the deets of the project, and they gave the green light to your fee. All seemed hunky-dory, right? 

But then things got a tad messy. 

Maybe your client drops a bombshell and asks for three proofs instead of one. Or that little blog they wanted you to edit turned out to be a full-blown write-up. And to top it off, the basic blueprint you both agreed upon turned into a detailed behemoth. 

Now you're stuck with way more work hours than you originally planned. Eek.  

Hold up. This wasn't in the agreement. How on earth did we end up here? 

The diagnosis: scope creep. Dun dun dun! 

What is scope creep? 

Scope Creep is when a project starts growing like a sourdough starter on steroids, way beyond its original scope and boundaries. It usually pops up when there are changes in the project requirements, a need for clearer communication, or shoddy project management. 

In simpler terms, it’s when the project turns into a never-ending saga with more tasks and features than you originally signed up for. Cue delays, budget blowouts, and general annoyance! 

To shield your project and maintain your client relationship without the havoc of scope creep, you’ll need a rock-solid contract. We’ve got legal templates for that. Here are some tips to tame the scope creep beast:  

1. Clearly Define the Scope of Work: Step one in avoiding scope creep is to have a crystal clear understanding of what the project entails. Spell it out in the contract - details, goals, and deliverables. Setting these boundaries will keep the project from spiraling out of control.  

2. Include a Process for Change Requests: Changes are bound to happen; it’s basically the natural order of the universe. But make sure you have a process in place for handling those change requests! Lay out the rules for how they’ll be submitted, reviewed, and approved.  

3. Include Deadlines and Milestones: Deadlines and milestones are your trusty GPs to keep the project on track. They give both sides a clear sense of when things should be completed, preventing you from veering off into the Bermuda Triangle of project doom.  

4. Set a Clear Budget: A clear budget is a safety net that prevents your project from flinging into the financial abyss. By setting financial boundaries, you all know exactly what you’re working with.  

5. Include Penalties for Delays: Delays are the enemy of progress, my friend. Set penalties to keep everyone accountable and motivated to stay on track, lest your trusty project ship blow to the winds!  

6. Clearly State the Consequences of Scope Creep: Lay down the law and make it clear what will happen if scope creep rears its ugly head. Let everyone know that if things start getting muddy, there’ll be a contract to answer to. This helps keep scope creep from happening, so everyone’s on the same page.  

7. Have a Method for Regular Progress Check-Ins: Check-ins are like pit stops in a Formula 1 race. They make sure you’re still zooming towards the finish line, but that everyone gets what’s going on. No sneaky scope creep can survive the power of communication!  

8. Make Sure Both Parties Understand and Agree to the Contract Terms: Last but not least, make sure everyone's on the same page. Confirm that both parties understand and agree to the contract terms before embarking on the project.  

Scope creep is icky and unfortunately common. But scope creep’s kryptonite? Having a solid contract in place. By following our tips, you can make sure your project starts on track, is completed on time, and within budget.  

Key summary:  

To manage scope creep with a solid contract, make sure you’re doing the following: 

  • Clearly define the scope of work in the contract  
  • Include a process for change requests  
  • Include deadlines and milestones  
  • Set a clear budget for the project  
  • Include penalties for delays  
  • Clearly state the consequences of scope creep  
  • Have a method for regular progress check-ins to prevent scope creep from happening  
  • Make sure both parties understand and agree to the contract terms before starting the project.  

So remember: a well-defined contract is your best shield against scope creep. It will ensure that your project stays on track, finishes on time, and stays within budget. Now go forth armed with these tips, and conquer the scope creep beast with confidence! Wanna learn to negotiate your contract like a boss? We can help you with that, too. 





***Disclaimer. Please read!!***    

This article is for general information purposes only and should be used solely as general guidance. It does not and is not intended to represent legal advice or other professional advice.   


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