Posted on July 29, 2008 by Dennis Snow
Assisting an organization with a customer service initiative (or any other organizational development project) can be very rewarding; especially when the leadership team is truly committed to long-term success. When everyone is involved and engaged, amazing results can be achieved.
Getting everyone involved, however, can also cause mind-numbing frustration. Anyone who has ever participated on a project team or a steering committee knows that a beast is always there waiting to strike. The beast's name is Project Creep. You know Project Creep has arrived when input from others regarding the initiative transforms into demands that must be a part of the outcome.
When Project Creep insidiously inserts itself into the mix, what started as a clear, straight-forward initiative becomes a runaway freight train. And the result is often a train wreck. The original purpose of the initiative disappears and the outcome is a bloated, meaningless mess.
The most common example of Project Creep is the development of a typical company's mission statement. What should have been 2-3 inspirational sentences that provide clear direction end up being two pages of corporate-speak that mean nothing to anybody. Everyone ends up frustrated.
A spot-on video was posted on Alan Weiss' blog, Contrarian Consulting. Showing this video should be required at the beginning of any new project and shown again at the first sign of Project Creep.
The original purpose of an initiative or project should be the lighthouse that guides the initiative or project safely into port. Yes, get input from as many sources as possible, but don't let Project Creep take you off course.