Penrod Blog

How to Deal with Scope Creep in Salesforce Projects

Keeping the Monster at Bay

Written by Matt Fiel

We'll discuss the four elusive forms of scope creep, explore how it slithers its way into your Salesforce project, and most importantly, reveal the secrets to keeping it at bay.

I’m a horror movie fan.

Every Halloween season, I try to binge watch as many scary movies as I can from the Rotten Tomatoes Best Horror Movies of all time list. This October, I’ve watched 10 so far.

Still, nothing scares me as much as scope creep. Imagine if that was a movie.

When it comes to managing a Salesforce project, there’s one term that can send shivers down your spine: “scope creep”. It’s that sneaky phenomenon when your project starts expanding beyond its original boundaries, without any compensation or additional time and resources.

If scope creep were a monster, it’d be the silent kind. Unwavering, persistent, quietly following you in the dark – and popping out when you least expect it.

And guess what?

It can wreak havoc on your deadlines, ruin your workplace relationships, and even turn your project into a money pit. But fear not! In this post, we’re diving deep into the world of scope creep in Salesforce projects.

We’ll uncover its four elusive forms, explore how it slithers its way into your project, and most importantly, reveal the secrets to keeping it at bay. So, grab a cup of pumpkin spice coffee, buckle up, and let’s defeat the scope creeper together!

Four Types of Scope Creep in Salesforce Projects

Scope creep manifests itself into your Salesforce projects in four ways. These include business creep, feature creep, effort creep, and hope creep. Let’s dive into the details.

Business Creep

Business creep happens when a change request doesn’t necessarily add value but gives the impression of doing so. In other words, stakeholders think the change is critical to the project’s success but may not have solid reasoning to back it up.

As an illustration, consider a scenario where you’re developing an intake process for a mental health clinic using Marketing Cloud. As the project nears completion, a key stakeholder proposes converting the web form’s styling from a one column layout to a two column layout, solely because the CEO prefers two column layouts.

This modification would likely entail hours of extra work, without any tangible enhancement to the patient experience. Nevertheless, the stakeholder perceives it as valuable – and may put up a huge fight to get it done.

Feature Creep

Feature creep is when stakeholders ask for additional features that exist outside the project’s original scope, timeline, or budget.

Consider this scenario…you’re working on an NPI search module for a hospital system to find specialty clinics for referrals.

Initially, the plan was to integrate with the publicly accessible NPPES Registry. However, a stakeholder suggests that having access to de-identified medical claims information at each specialty clinic would be even better for lead generation.

While this feature would undoubtedly enhance lead targeting, it would require additional resources, planning, scoping, and hours.

Effort Creep

Effort creep happens when the actual amount of work exceeds the initial estimate. It often happens when you have not allocated enough time for a task, and the project work takes longer than expected.

Let’s imagine you’re responsible for configuring a patient journey for a multi-step scheduling process for cell and gene therapy. This intricate process involves a series of appointments that have multiple dependencies, requiring strict adherence to ensure smooth execution. The complexity of these appointments is such that if you haven’t handled them before, so they may take considerably more time than anticipated during the initial scoping phase. It’s crucial to meticulously plan and account for all the intricacies involved to ensure a seamless patient experience and successful treatment outcome.

Hope Creep

Hope creep is almost completely psycological. It happens when stakeholders believe that previous promises made to them will be delivered despite there being no agreement signed to solidify the request.

Let’s say that the initial scoping process laid out a solution that creates an appointment scheduling process complete with web form and workflows.

If expectations are not managed, stakeholders might anticipate an immediate surge of patients as a result of the enhanced scheduling platform. However, it is important to recognize that the platform is just one piece of a broader process to attracting more patients. Additional factors such as targeted marketing strategies, comprehensive omni-channel campaigns, and staff enablement may be necessary to fully realize the return on investment from the platform improvements.

Now that we’ve covered the primary types of scope creep, let’s discuss how it happens in the first place.

How Scope Creep Happens

Scope creep usually happens during points of engagement throughout the project.

It comes in all sorts of forms: phone calls, email requests, messages via chat, or even casual discussions. As new stakeholders join the project, the likelihood of scope creep increases with an increase in the number of vendors. It’s important to track every request’s impact, including additional expenses, management time, and resources required to complete the task.

How to Avoid Scope Creep

Assess the urgency of the ask, demonstrate the consequences it will have, acknowledge the importance, get buy-in from all stakeholders, and correct the behavior upfront. It is all about managing expectations with stakeholders.

Another critical factor in avoiding scope creep is maintaining open lines of communication. An alternative solution is creating a backlog, which allows you to detail the requests, their importance, and how they line up with the overall project scope.

Red Flags of Scope Creep

If stakeholders view you as an individual contributor rather than their partner, they may want things done according to their schedule. They could treat your time as their time, and expect you to follow their process – even if it’s not the best way to complete the project.

These red flags appear more frequently when you’re working with new stakeholders and must be identified quickly.

How to Address Scope Creep

When scope creep begins to appear, it’s important to address it upfront. Call it out, define the consequences clearly of what the additional request means to the project scope, alert any internal resources affected, and correct expectations immediately. It’s important to ground the stakeholders with the original scope of work and request additional resources or more time if required.


  • Explicitly document requirements in a shared document
  • Set clear, measurable objectives
  • Host a project kick-off meeting
  • Have a change control process in place
  • Set a consistent, single engagement channel
  • Ensure every stakeholder is identified and involved
  • Keep a paper trail
  • Meet consistently and regularly
  • Don’t be afraid to push back


When it comes to Salesforce, there’s rarely anything more scary – or silent – than scope creep in a project.

It’s always better to prevent scope creep from occurring in the first place. You can do this by setting clear expectations, knowing what is in the statement of work, spotting it early, and using a backlog. Once you’re in the throes of scope creep, it’s important to identify the situation upfront and address it quickly. The bottom line for any successful Salesforce project is the ability to anticipate and manage scope creep, adjust to change requests reasonably and efficiently, and always communicate with the stakeholders on every step along the way.

By following these processes, you can conquer the scope creep monster before it strikes.

About The Author

Matt Fiel

EVP of Marketing

With over 15 years of experience in marketing strategy, web development, and creative design, I lead the marketing team at Penrod, a boutique Salesforce partner focused on the healthcare and life sciences industry. As a Salesforce Certified Pardot Consultant, I have deep knowledge and skills in leveraging the platform to optimize marketing automation, lead generation, and customer engagement.

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