Scope Creep - The Project’s Botox and the UGLY operation

By Hani Hmedeh

You may have read about a Failed Botox Cosmetic operation in blogs and celebrity gossip magazines, or heard about it from your friends. Same for the uncontrolled changes in a project that affect the scope of the project; you plan to do something, and when you proceed with it, many new requirements are added to it, until at last, you end up with an entirely new product.

This what we called scope creep in project management… and what I personally called a failed project’s Botox operation.

Why? - Need for Better Results.

In cosmetic operations, when a wrinkle in the skin is typically formed perpendicular to a contracting muscle located directly beneath it; Botox Cosmetic is injected into muscles, where it blocks nerve impulses to those tissues in order to get a smoother look results.

Same for the project management, Scope creep is also known as requirement creep in the project’s or product’s scope due to either interference of the customer or due to a misunderstanding of the scope by the project team or the project manager to get better results.

Let’s go deep to find the real reason for the scope creep:

  • First, the client Interference;
  • Second, the incomplete scope statement;
  • Third, the poor change control system;
  • Fourth, the miscommunication among the team members;
  • Fifth, the external factors, (e.g., market conditions, regulatory requirements, or technological advancements.)

How? -  Introducing new changes

The improper use of Botox can result in what many call a "frozen face," (a condition which ends up highlighting the procedure rather than wrinkles it is meant to conceal); Same for the improper implementation of scope management, by adding some extra functions to the product, either knowingly or unknowingly, and these changes are not stated in the scope statement and introduced to the project without any proper review.

Then... - The ugly operation and the bad results

By adding some changes not stated in the scope statement and imperfectly introduced to the project might create many problems in later stages. And then you will have to implement many other changes to cover up the changes made in earlier stages. Consequently,  such changes might include a schedule delay and cost overrun. If you do not control the scope creep, then you may have problems with completing your project, or in severe cases, it may be terminated.

So! - Let’s avoid it

Those changes in the project scope are considered bad for project health, and it must be avoided in all cases.  

Let’s start from this… “Scope creep occurs when the scope of a product is changed, and the project budget and schedule remain unchanged.”; so how to avoid it?

  • First, use a robust change control system, and never allow changes without proper review and approval.
  • Second, establish a communication channel between the client and you and don’t let them talk directly to your project team members; and by the team and you by establish and encourage good communication among the team members
  • Third, prepare a solid and complete scope statement.
  • Finally, keep proper checks on the project’s progress.


The rule is very simple, we don’t have scope creep (the ugly Project ‘s Botox Operation) if the scope is changed and the schedule and budget are also changed to reflect the change in scope.  

You have to choose between the Ugly operation and the Healthy one; where your choice will affect the management process of the project and it success.

By Hani Hmedeh