Updating Your Website: How To Prevent Scope Creep

Deciding to redesign your website is like deciding to remodel your home. There are things you like and things you want to change, and so you create a basic “Dream List” of features and upgrades you want to incorporate in the new design. You submit this list to the “Contractor,” aka the Digital Marketing Experts, and they give you a bid. Great! The project is underway.

But what about when you decide you want to add this, change that, or consider a new design you just saw elsewhere?

In our industry, we have a name for client directed add-ons and changes that occur after the project is underway; it’s called Scope Creep. It means the project has grown beyond the scope of its original size and price. While it can be challenging on our end, at the end of the day it’s really the client who suffers. Scope Creep becomes costly and bogs down the timeline, making it impossible to do our job as originally scheduled and quoted.

What’s the best way to prevent scope creep?

It’s simple:

  • Have a concrete outcome in mind.
  • Make a big, fat list.
  • Collaborate with your web designer.
  • Invest in Scope Creep protection.
  • Trust your developer.

Now, let’s take a look at each of these preventative strategies in more detail.

Have a concrete outcome in mind. If you come to us and say, “We want a really awesome new website,” we’ll say, “Oookay. Now, let’s talk about what you really want.” Do you want to increase your website sales by 50% using a more user-friendly website? Or, are you only interested in changing the aesthetic elements of your design? These are two very different projects. The more focused you are in your company’s goals for the website, the more accurate we can be when we provide the timeline and quote.

Make a list. A big, fat list. The best way to determine your concrete outcome is to make a huge list of everything you want, and we mean ev-er-y-thing. It’s much easier for everyone involved if we see the macroscopic picture and then whittle away to come up with a more micro-version that achieves your main goals.

Be prepared to collaborate. Redesigning your website should entail a collaborative effort between you and your web designer. Sure, you are our clients, but we are experts in our field and love what we do. Be open to hearing our critiques and suggestions because our goals are the same: to design a website that you love, and that will drive more customers your way.

Invest in Scope Creep protection. Don’t shy away from a bid that allows for Unforeseen Complications Protection. Things are bound to come up along the way and you want to be prepared to resolve them. Most experienced web designers will allow 10 – 15% extra for things that require more work than originally anticipated.

Trust your web developer. When you’re used to running your own company, or heading up the marketing team, the urge to micromanage your web developer can be powerful. We get it! We wouldn’t be good at what we do if we didn’t have a little of that in us as well. However, the best way to enjoy the web design process is to be prepared at the front end, using your lists and concrete goals, and then trust your web developer to deliver a fabulous final product. Getting over-involved in the middle is a sure sign of Scope Creep-age.

Keeping these tips in mind will minimize Scope Creep, and result in a final product that has everything your company needs to present a dynamic, user-friendly, socially connected website online.


Published September 12, 2013 by Luke Severn.
Categories: Website Design and Development