Have you ever heard of the saying “everything but the kitchen sink?” Well, guess what, it actually inspired the term “kitchen sink syndrome,” and this can be applied to everything from arguments where your significant other or parent brings up every mistake you’ve made since birth (hence, “everything but the kitchen sink”) to project management.
Because, you see, “kitchen sink syndrome” is also another term for scope creep.
What is Scope Creep?
This term refers to additional features or functions beyond the agreed-upon scope. Another definition pegs it as “adding features and functionality (project scope) without addressing the effects on time, costs, and resources.”
In other words, it’s a huge pain in the butt.
However, we should note that scope creep isn’t always intentional. (Yep, not all clients are out to take advantage of their remote workers. Sometimes, it happens simply because the scope isn’t properly defined, documented, or defended.
Also, changes in projects can inadvertently bring about scope creep. As such changes are inevitable, this makes preventing scope creep more challenging. Depending on the modifications required, the people involved might have to exert more time and effort than agreed upon.
We do need to make one clear distinction, though. The key word here is “unauthorized.” If you and your client discussed the scope expansion and you agreed to it (especially if it comes with additional compensation), that’s not scope creep.
Why It Benefits No One
Obviously, scope creep absolutely SUCKS for remote workers. First, it devalues your labor since you would end up rendering extra work for free. Secondly, it’s lethal to your work-life balance. Maintaining such is already tricky for people working from home. Accumulating unauthorized extra work just makes that more difficult.
What a lot of people don’t understand is that scope creep isn’t good for clients and employers too. For starters, the extra work that scope creep requires can endanger the project’s timeline. Simply put, their workers might not finish the project in time if they’re forced to work on extra tasks alongside their usual ones.
Lastly, overworked workers rarely produce good results. And they’re not likely to work with a client again if they come off a project feeling exploited and overwrought.
How to Avoid Scope Creep
Clear boundaries are the best antidote to scope creep. These are what you need to establish from the get-go, as well as what your contract should reflect. Be very specific about your compensation, your duties, and your deliverables. Indicate that anything outside of that is subject to further discussion and approval.
It also helps to vet your clients. Be especially wary of those who are constantly working towards getting extra work “on the cheap.” Watch out for red flags, so to speak.
Lastly, if something feels off, do speak up. Sometimes, clients might not be aware that they’re driving you towards scope creep. In such cases, try a gentle but firm, “I hear you, but I may require further support/time/resources/compensation for these tasks.”
You may also want to try partnering with a remote agency that puts you first. With Remote Staff, we have specialists who are tasked with supporting our remote talents, and this includes assistance in smoothing over client disputes regarding the workload, among other things.
Sign up with us today, and experience the peace of mind that comes with worrying about nothing else but the task at hand.