Avoiding “Visionary Scope Creep”

Visionary scope creep happens

Visionary Scope Creep will derail your Web Design Project.

Visionary “Founder” clients are often very successful because they take risks. They work on groundbreaking ideas that take months and may not come to fruition for years. For some web design agencies creating a forward-looking website can be very fulfilling. One of the pitfalls of working with a visionary on a project is visionary scope creep.

Visionary scope creep happens when web design projects grow beyond the bounds of time, cost, and quality.

Most visionaries will admit they will jump into a simple project that solves a problem right now. Then it suddenly becomes a long-term project that takes the company in a new direction and costs thousands. Unfortunately, this often results in a huge scope creep web design project that fails to launch.

“Visionary Scope Creep” occurs when the client disrupts the timeline or requests unforeseen changes. When working with visionaries, disrupting the timeline can include an unexplainable desire to push the site live before it’s ready or failing to deliver on QA requests quickly creating a domino effect of delays.

scope creep defined

By nature, a visionary client will offer a continuous flow of design changes. They may seem small to them but are in fact large backend development tasks. If the web design agency does not have a project management procedure to handle new requests, there will be challenges.

Since most visionaries have strong personalities. it may seem easier to take the path of least resistance and make the changes. However, if you continue this without question it will deplete the project of precious time and money.

Can’t we add a search bar?

To a client, a search bar appears to be a simple element that’s easy to add. However, adding the search bar will likely include reworking some of the most complex areas of the site such as the header and navigation. With a visionary leader, the desire to add search functionality to the website will not stop there. The next request will be to add sorting and filtering to search results. Be warned. Unless you contain the scope of the original web design project, adding search functionality will mushroom into reinventing Google.

You can help your client avoid this pitfall by carefully documenting the scope of the web design project. When presenting a project plan to a visionary leader, formalize what functionality and features are NOT included. Setting this expectation helps the client visualize the boundaries they must work within.

Here Are 4 Tips To Help You Avoid “Visionary Scope Creep”

  1. Be aware that your visionary client became successful by “coloring outside the lines.” Even if you set great expectations, a visionary will still try to add forward-looking functionality. When your visionary clients presents you with a new idea for the website design, suggest to turn the new request into a new smaller project that is independent of the initial scope. Explain that small projects have a much greater chance of success. Project managers will often split large projects into smaller ones to ensure that it gets completed.

  2. Present an estimate for the changes, as soon as practical. This may cause frustration. Remind them that the project had a defined scope, and the changes represent more work. Remember for a visionary, their real frustration is when they cannot explore their vision unimpeded. The web design agency needs to manage this expectation.

  3. As the project progresses, keep all new requests in one place. Use software or spreadsheets for organizing these. Next to each change, document the hours and costs associated with it. Note whether the new change request is part of the original scope or a new smaller project. Make sure to share whatever tracking solution you choose with the client, so they can visualize how their vision impacts the project.

  4. Because visionaries get bored easily when presented with details, they may want to turn the project over to someone else in the organization who has expertise driving a project to completion. This is often a welcome change for most agencies. However, make sure to keep your visionary client in the loop. If you do not, they will stall the project just before launch because the new site falls short of their original vision.

Need help with a visionary client on a website design project?  Let us help you take it from concept to completion.