Reframing scope creep to be more collaborative

Great work comes from honest communication. Scope Creep is just part of the conversation.

Scope Creep 01


No two Yoyo products are the same.

Each of our digital products are designed and made to order, unique in its specification and tailored to the exact requirements of its owner. Our reputation is based around delivering experiences with impact for our clients, and this year we aim to do even better. As part of our legal commitment to the B Corp community, we’re always looking for ways to improve the happiness and well-being of all our stakeholders (our team, clients, suppliers, and community), the impact on our planet, and the profitability of our projects. Scope creep has a huge influence on all three.

Scope Creep 02

What is scope creep?

This is where the requirements and deliverables increase as the project progresses.

For example, a new piece of functionality may come to light that was previously missed or deemed not a priority but as circumstances change becomes crucial for the initial launch. Naturally, we want to build the best experience so we need to find a way, but with plans and timings locked in, we need to have an honest conversation about the impact it creates.

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The impact it has

Scope creep has a major impact on 3 key parts of any business; people, profitability, and the planet.

Once it gets into a project, it has the classic domino effect. For our clients and our team, the added workload within the same time and budget constraints have a negative impact on physical and mental wellbeing. The additional time and resources needed to build the new features eat into not only the profitability of the project, affecting our ability to build a well-run, stable and sustainable business, but this also has a large effect on our clients, having to seek out additional budget not planned for, also having to manage stakeholders expectations. In a year, an average person in the developed world adds 136kg of CO2 to their carbon footprint from the emails they send and receive, think how much we can all save by being more efficient and keep extra email communications to a minimum?

The knock-on effect is it makes measuring success complicated because it’s difficult to know if the original requirements were met, which leaves everyone involved feeling overwhelmed.

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It’s always insightful to look outside the digital industry for how they approach similar issues.

Unsurprisingly, in most other industries or services, you’ll see additional labour or parts can be included at a cost to the buyer. 

Imagine installing a new kitchen into the house. You’ve sat with the designers, gone through hundreds of finishes, met the installers, given it the green light then in the final phase you decide the double-oven at head height is better than the single oven low to the floor. That’s going to be expensive - and you know it.

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How Yoyo see it differently

No project in the world is safe from scope creep.

The evidence is all around us. Watch an episode of Grand Designs on Channel 4, or read about any one of the “exciting” transport projects up and down the country. Even the Apple HQ went 5x over budget!

But what we can do is change the way we think about and act on it, together with our clients.

For our new approach to projects, we dug deep into the current process to look for any pain points or patterns around scope creep. In short, we realised it was happening closer to the end of a project and, the nearer the end the bigger the problem for everyone. We could see that bigger, tougher decisions needed to be made at the start of a project, as well as more collaboration and input from stakeholders and project team members.

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Building strong partnerships

Transparency is one of the pillars to our business. We’ve formed strong, long-lasting relationships with our clients through honest and regular communication, sharing everything as it comes along. With more visibility and decision-making up-front, our hope is to make the process even smoother, more fruitful, and create an even bigger impact for our clients.

We've learned a lot over the last decade and at the center of what we do is build great honest and open relationships, and amazing work will follow. If you're interested in chatting more about our approach and how to create a more positive impact via the ways you work in your business and with agency partners, we'd love to hear from you.

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