How To Handle Project Scope Creep When Developing An App

September 5, 2018 | Sakshi Sharma

The words “Project Scope Creep” may seem unfamiliar, but it actually happens too often. Project scope creep is the term given to the process of when a project that is initially set with guidelines and rules morphs into a project that bypasses the initial time and money budget.

Many people can tell you tips on how to avoid project scope creep, but avoiding project scope creep isn’t the way to go. As with all team and individual efforts, project scope creep is bound to happen. There’s no way that you or your software developing partner can predict the changes that may happen in the design and development process, and that’s ok.

However, the problem comes when there are so many added functionalities that the basic layout of Version 1 turns into a jumbled mess. Instead of unrealistically trying to avoid project scope creep altogether, let’s take a look at how to handle it when it comes up.

How To Handle Project Scope Creep

1. A Clear Project Vision

At this point, you are at the beginning stages of creating the app. Ensure that your app idea addresses the problem that you want to solve. There are multiple steps to take before you even contact an app development company. Then, when you do reach out make sure they can repeat your idea in their own words so you know that everyone involved in the design and development process understands your vision.

Once you have the exact vision in mind, then you can move onto the technical aspects and features. However, ensure that you talk about these aspects after you and your team have identified the basic functionalities and goals of the app. Don’t start talking about extra features before this step, otherwise, you can easily lead the project astray and end up costing yourself more time, energy, and money from an extended project.

Ask yourself questions like “Who will use this app?” and “what am I trying to achieve with this app?” before you even start the design phase.

2. Tell Them What Inspires You

It helps to tell the developers what you like and dislikes about other apps that are similar to yours. This can help paint a clear picture of your vision and help them avoid inputting any elements you may not want. This is all part of creating an amazing app design.

3. Understand the Scope of Work

After you have clearly defined your purpose for the app, you can move onto creating the scope of work for Version 1.0. The scope of work is an agreement that lists out all the functions and features you want your app to have in version 1.0. Remember that this scope of work applies to only version 1.0. Any additional features that pop up along the way in the design and/or development process will be added to version 2.0. These additional features may come from you or your development partner, but either way, these additions most likely comes with additional time and costs.

4. Setting Expectations Early On

First impressions count. Whether it’s communication a couple of times a week or creating project plans and deadlines, the expectations need to be solidified early on in the process. Your developer needs to have knowledge of these types of expectations so they can have a better understanding of procedures and anything that needs to happen on their end.

5. Flexibility and Communication

In every project, there is a high chance that changes from the original plan will occur, so it’s necessary to be flexible. If your app development partner asks you for clarification on something, a chance to meet, or other requests, it’s important to adjust your schedule so that they can learn the important information and move ahead with the process. Being flexible will reduce the time it takes and could even save you from spending more money.

6. Accept Constructive Feedback from Your Partner

When working with an app development company, you should talk about your goals for the app, the features you want, and how you think that you and the team should go about the process. Clearly stating your ideas makes it so much easier for your developing and design partner since it ensures that there isn’t any miscommunication.

However, accepting constructive ideas that your partner gives you is also an important aspect of the entire process. A good app development company should be able to critique your ideas instead of always agreeing with them. They should have the experience and knowledge it takes to create a great functioning app and should know the ways to do so. Take the ideas your development partner is giving you seriously because they know the business and their goal is to help you create a successful app.

7. The Design Phase is Crucial

During the design phase is where project scope creeps happens the most. As you see the designs coming in, more ideas also come rushing in. What most people do is request to add them now but don’t take into account the additional time and cost. By the time the development phase starts the project is 3 times bigger than it was before taking the cost way beyond what people intended.

Ideas are great but remember any new ideas you come up with during the design phase should be written down for Version 2.0. If you try to pack everything into Version 1.0 your app will not be delivered on time. Keeping the timeline is very important to the success of your project. Again, a few new things and adjustments aren’t an issue, its part of the normal process but there is a limit.

Project scope creep is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways of handling it. When creating an app, it’s important to have a clear pathway and timeline of each step that needs to be taken. With the help of SDI, you can create your own app without having to worry about project scope creep greatly interfering with your vision. We have the knowledge and expertise to work with you on your app idea and create a complete project timeline to ensure your app is launched with as much care and efficiency as possible.

Interested in developing your own app? Call Sakshi Sharma at 408.621.8481 or email her at

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