Where's the Milk?

Where’s the Milk?

Have you ever gone to the grocery store just to buy a bottle of shampoo or a gallon of milk, only to end up leaving the store with five bags of other great stuff?

This, in a nutshell, is scope creep.

You only plan on buying that one item, but when you get home, it takes three trips from the car to the house just to get everything you bought, inside the door.

We all do this.

Heck, lots of times, I make it home with the five bags of great stuff, unload it all on the kitchen counter only to discover that I forgot the one thing I went to the store for in the first place!

Scope creep happens all the time.

(You can call it launch creep if you want to.)

If you’ve ever created anything, written anything, created any course or lead magnet, you’ve probably experienced it.

Scope creep can be a trip to the animal shelter to pick out a kitten that ends with you coming home with four cats, a puppy and an ancient pygmy goat.

It can be a window vegetable garden that magically morphs into a small field planted with 15 different varieties of 10 different vegetables…plus flowers!

Or scope creep can be an open cart email sequence that turns into an open cart sequence, close cart sequence, sales letter, landing page(s) and welcome email, and oh wait, don’t forget the nurture sequence after the cart closes,  project.

With five re-writes.

Or a 45 minute group coaching call that stretches to 3 hours.

Scope creep can kill.

It kills morale, robs us of our free time, creates resentment, kills the fun-factor and in the end, can derail a product launch and cause hard feelings and unhappiness for everyone involved.

Ideally, we need to be proactive and keep it from happening in the first place.

Sometimes even the best-laid plans start to go off the rails, so the next time you see it coming, try one of these techniques to identify and stop scope creep in its tracks. 

First, remain calm. Don’t freak out!

Adding things, removing things, refining and juggling are all part of the process.

In fact, a change in scope can even be a good thing.  When your team can come together to offer feedback and new ideas, then quickly shift directions for the betterment of the project, it’s a beautiful thing and leads to better outcomes.

However, when the scope of a project changes, it can add both time and expense to a project.

Enter Change Management and the Change Order.

For just a minute, let’s talk about my house.

When we built our house, we had a set of plans and an agreement with the builder to build a specific house, using a specific blueprint, with a specific design, specific cabinets, hardware, flooring, etc, all for a specified price.

I decided I wanted a covered patio added to the back of our house. No worries!

The builder engineered the covered patio, did a ‘take off’ on the materials and labor and gave me a price for the addition to the original project. For him to agree to add the covered patio to the project, I had to agree to a change in the scope of the project. It would increase the time it took to build the house by a week, and would cost an extra $12,000.

The builder put this in writing, we both signed it and we changed the scope by executing a Change Order.

Because we took the time to consider the impact of the additional work on our project and put that knowledge in writing...

...we both understood the new parameters, what the effect the addition of the covered patio would have on time to delivery and cost, and we all avoided the dreaded scope creep.

Instead, we had a change in scope.

Had creep been allowed to occur, I would have been annoyed at the extra time and may have been surprised to have been presented a bill for the addition to the project. The builder was able to avoid overextending his resources and costing himself time and money by simply adding the patio on without requiring a change order.

We were both on the same page and the project, although changed, was right on track.

This same approach (using a change order) can be used with any element of your project launch or course creation.

This brings me to Done.

When is the project complete?

In a perfect world, scope creep doesn’t exist.  Everyone involved is in sync, working together toward a common goal.

A well defined, written, common goal.

Life isn’t perfect, but you can avoid a lot of problems by taking the time up front to clearly define the deliverables, the time frame, the milestones, the quantity, the rewrites allowed, the payment terms and what the word done means.

Done or project completed can mean different things to different people in different circumstances. Make sure everyone involved has a clear understanding of this going into it and stick to it (or use change orders to adjust if the project evolves) so at the end of the day, everyone walks away feeling good.

Remember, scope change via a change order is not the same thing as scope creep (aka, launch creep).

One results in happy, loyal, customers and owners.

The other ends in lost time, lost money and often creates resentment and less than optimum results.

Fun, profitable, successful projects start with great planning.

Having an actual, written document outlining the details that can be referred back to throughout the project keeps the project from veering off course, and as with any strategic plan, it can be a working document.

This means your plan can become more detailed and more specific as time goes on if you see the need to make things more clear.

And don’t forget the change order!

We all want to do our level best for our customers, clients and product owners.

If the original scope changes, document that change, adjust the time and investment requirements as needed, make sure the change is agreed on by all parties involved, and get the job done!

And one more thing.

We are entrepreneurs.

If this is a project that you alone are working on, the same applies to you!

Put your plan in writing. Define the scope and stick to your plan. If you find that you want or need to vear off track and change the scope, put together a change order for yourself.

Force yourself to consider the extra time involved, the extra potential cost, the additional tech or technique that you’ll need to learn in order to make that change in scope and weigh it against the benefit.

If the benefits outweigh the costs, physically change your written plan.

Force yourself to think through each deviation to the plan.

Remember, an imperfect launch that’s executed, beats a perfect launch that never gets done.

Every. Single. Time.

And if your product launch is on the calendar and you’re putting the finishing touches on your course but need a little help with the copy…

Or just need someone to help you think through all the pieces to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything before firing that shot across the bow, give me a call.


We can work together so you don’t forget the milk!

May your niches be narrow, your avatars awesome and may your copy be a natural reflection of them both.


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