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(Alex)Scope creep occurs when users ask for additional features that may not have been outlined in the initial requirements breakdown.  During the system analysis phase of the SDLC, analysts conduct investigations into the current system which usually involves interviews with users on what elements of the system would benefit or not benefit them the most.  During this phase, users may start to request more and more functions that inflate the system/project.  Because these were not outlined in the initial requirements breakdown, the project grows and could potentially cost more time and money.  Avoiding scope creep is important to keep the system from growing and including new functions that should not be part of the system.  One way to avoid scope creep is demonstrated by turnkey systems.  Turnkey systems are off-the-shelf systems that cannot be modified for the specific needs of particular organizations. (Valacich, George, & Hoffer, 2015) They are broadly designed to meet the needs of several organizations, thus are less specific to each organization.  Producers of turnkey software systems only make significant changes if multiple users request the same feature.  This approach can be applied to system development to prevent scope creep.  While conducting interviews and investigations into the current systems, the analyst can create a running list of requested functions and features.  If only a few users request the function, the function should not be added.  If several users request the same feature, the analyst should recommend the feature to management as a possible addition to the program.  Using this method ensures that management is aware of the added functionality, any additional time it may cost in development, and any additional cost incurred.  Weight potential features against the number of users that could benefit will ensure the majority get the features they want, while keeping the project focused and on track, avoiding scope creep.

REFERENCES

Valacich, J. S., George, J. F., & Hoffer, J. A. (2015). Essentials of Systems Analysis and Design. Hoboken, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.

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