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Scope creep

Scope creep measures the amount of work added to an issue while it was in progress.


Scope creep is measured by the amount of child issues created after an issue has first moved to an 'in progress' status. Scope creep is calculated as the ratio of these created issues and the original issues in the story.


A story that had 8 issues when started and 12 issues when completed has a scope creep of (12-8)/8 = 50%

Why it matters

Scope creep is an indicator of planning quality. Some amount of scope creep is to be expected, but a high scope creep starts to indicate a problem with the planning process.

How to use it

Look for issues with unusual amounts of scope creep (significant outliers) to start discussions while the issue is still fresh in memory, and analyze the subtasks using the issue popup. Was this expected or something that could have been prevented? Is there something that the team can learn from this? Which subtasks were added after starting, or which of them took the longest?

Also, be on the lookout for consistently high scope creep (at least 50% on average): this might indicate a more systemic problem with the planning process. Perhaps you need to put more emphasis into story planning to avoid the same surprises in scope. Are you consistently forgetting some types of tasks, like documentation or instrumentation? Planning templates can solve some of these problems.

Where to find it

You can find scope creep by clicking open an issue popup anywhere in Swarmia where you see the name of an issue.