This week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions is all about scope creep, when the expectations, requirements, goals, vision, etc., shift beyond what was originally agreed. While it’s a project management term, not only is scope creep rife in the workplace but actually, it’s s feature of any and all situations where we and others don’t know our or their boundaries. This is the final episode of 2020 and The Baggage Reclaim Sessions will be back January 22nd 2021.

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Nuggets from the episode

  • We only have so much time, energy, effort and emotions to put into the things we want to be, do and have. If we don’t nurture our bandwidth and practice discernment about how we spend our time, energy, etc., we will experience scope creep. We’ll do it to ourselves, we’ll let others do it to us, and we’ll also do it them.
  • Our fear of boundaries at work makes it very easy for scope creep, not just to happen but flourish. We worry about how we will look, causing conflict and criticism and, of course, fear losing our job. Scope creep is always a problem though and we bear the responsibility for our side of the street. The traps that so many fall into is maintaining silence, dropping hints, or, yes, waiting until everything goes wrong or they’re miserable to express their frustrations.
  • Sometimes in our bid to play ‘nice guy’, ‘team player’, etc., we don’t realise how allowing the scope to continue creeping inadvertently creates the wrong message. The last thing we actually want is for someone to say that they don’t think we have leadership skills or that we’re poor at time management, people skills, etc.
  • The culture in a company can create a blind leading the blind situation. If the culture, for example, is for everyone to stay late, work super long hours, say yes and figure out how to squeeze it in later, we will follow suit. But if the culture doesn’t match our values, including our needs and goals, we have problems. Also, if we copy someone who ends up keeling over or breaking down, they’re showing us our future.

If we value ourselves and others, including having honest relationships, why would we take offence at someone knowing and asserting their boundaries?

  • It’s not unusual to feel uncomfortable about saying something in the moment. In fact, it’s more than OK to reach out afterwards and clarify ‘the scope’.
  • Loved ones are allowed to say if they don’t agree with something, of course. But the problem in a relationship where scope creep has occurred is that one party is behaving as if they are always right. This means that the other party always has to be wrong. This person will get very critical and defensive if they don’t get gain agreement or compliance. They carry on as if they’re the authority on the other and so they see fit to belittle, criticise and stonewall to make their point.
  • In a romantic relationship, we can’t wear ‘loving partner’ and ‘parent (of our partner)’ hats at the same time. No one has any business trying to be our romantic partner and parent us at the same time. It’s a boundary bust and it’s the creepy merging of roles that really shouldn’t mix.
  • It’s great that our friend wants to look out for us, but dominating and bossing us around isn’t cool. They don’t have the right to take what they think they know about us or our family situation and parlay that into the role of our parent or substitute partner. This kind of behaviour as ‘well-meaning’ as they might claim or intend it to be is over the line.

Overcoming scope creep means valuing clarity over confusion and resentment.

  • When we agree to a casual or open relationship and then start behaving as if we are in an exclusive relationship, we are changing the proverbial terms and conditions. Our scope creeping is not only going to hurt and confuse us, but we are going to confuse the other party and overstep.
  • It’s more than OK for us to recognise and acknowledge that our needs have changed or that yes, we went into a situation not being honest with ourselves about what we needed and wanted. We can’t just expand the scope to suit that without actually engaging the other party, though. Similarly, they can’t limit the scope to, for example, a casual relationship and then want to be up in our business. We have to be prepared to walk instead of hanging around busting up our boundaries and hoping that it’s going to lead to a payoff (it won’t).
  • When I was guilty of ‘scope creep’ in a meeting with my designer, it was because I was excited. It was the right thing for her to point out that what I was talking about was a different conversation/project. If she hadn’t, I would have had unrealistic expectations and things would have been weird between us.
  • Scope creep doesn’t necessarily come from a ‘bad’ place. In fact, we don’t need to get caught up in trying to figure out whether someone is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or what their intentions were. That is pointless and has nothing whatsoever to do with the necessity or validity of the boundary. What we need to do is address the scope creep. People like to know where they stand, and others know your line when you know and communicate it.

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