Sticking to your roadmap may seem like an easy feat, but even the most captivating destination points have been put on the back burner for a shiny landmark. Many factors can cause our plans to go awry. Scope creep can be summarized with this nightmare scenario– missing an important flight because you got distracted by fancy souvenirs in the gift shop, went to the wrong gate, or didn’t give yourself enough time to get to the airport to begin with. Unrealistic expectations, insufficient communication, and missing or inaccurate information can lead to a project’s scope creep. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be your fate!
Creating a clear scope for any given project requires everyone to get on board with long-term goals. To ensure the right outcome for your training program, proactive efforts to maintain effective management can keep your project safe from getting derailed. First, it’s best to learn the top factors that lead to scope creep to help hold yourself and your team accountable.
3 Factors That Lead to Scope Creep
When an organization envisions training looking one way and reimagines it later in development, it becomes an expense of everyone’s time and budget. Scope creep is all about unforeseen challenges. Here are the top factors that can negatively impact project development.
1. Unrealistic Expectations
We can all become victims of our own expectations from time to time. While optimism for a new project is generally encouraged, scope creep becomes an impending reality when stakeholders have overly optimistic expectations about what can be achieved within the project’s time and budget. It’s important to commit to a shared vision.
The excitement surrounding XR training inspires new ideas and ways to push the capabilities of AR and VR. During the development of a project, new expectations can quickly turn into last-minute requests for additional features or deliverables that were not initially planned. When inspiration strikes, it’s important to remember that just because you can doesn’t always mean you should.
If an organization wants to reduce the training time for equipment operation, adding unnecessary steps for the coolness factor won’t do any favors for employees looking to upskill.
Facilitating in-depth discussions to map out a training program’s elements and features can help combat unrealistic expectations. It’s crucial to have stakeholders sign off in agreement at every stage of development. If there’s a significant discrepancy between expectations and reality, it’s time to reassess.
2. Insufficient Communication
Team dynamics matter. Poor communication between the development team, project managers, and stakeholders practically invites scope creep. Without clear, consistent communication, managing expectations and ensuring everyone is aligned on the project’s goals and working constraints becomes challenging.
Effective communication can help your organization define project objectives and responsibilities. These strategies become the foundation for creating the learning objectives of a training program. Successfully address learner needs with transparent conversations that lay the groundwork for your project and help illuminate the root causes of skill gaps in your organization. Communicating with the right people will also guarantee that you stay informed. For example, technical previews are a great way to check in on the progress of your project – but they should include a scheduled follow-up discussion to share concerns or give praise!
It all comes down to planning appropriately. In order to continue development that is informed by timely feedback, SMEs should be ready for testing and review cycles. Start by asking the right questions to prevent scope creep. Regular check-ins will also foster rapport and set the stage for every detail to be discussed.
3. Missing or Inaccurate Information
Missing critical information in a training program goes beyond design failure. This is what places high stakes on accuracy during the planning stage. Adding a missing step mid-project may require significant development time to rework once production has begun.
Involving stakeholders from the start is key to ensuring that the project’s content is accurate for all end-use scenarios. For example: you’re creating a training process for a warehouse, so you do thorough research to ensure that the process is consistent and works across the entirety of the client’s various warehouses.
Engage SMEs early on. Failing to involve SMEs in the early stages of project planning can lead to crucial omissions in program development. Subject matter experts play a pivotal role as contributors. Their absence during the initial project scoping may result in excluding vital information and effective learning strategies from the planning phase. Remember – SMEs are key influencers!
Virtual reality works best for training interactive skills and step-by-step processes. Another way to combat scope creep is to maintain a clear idea of every interaction within a process to help facilitate realistic timeline estimates. Because it’s easy to underestimate how many steps are in a simple process, leadership should always be well informed by SMEs of process complexity. Otherwise, the projected scope will always fall short. Don’t force everyone involved to reset their expectations!
It’s essential to have a clear project definition from the beginning, especially if you are new to VR. Otherwise, project requirements quickly start to evolve.
Keep Your Eyes On The Prize
Experts in VR know that strategy is everything, especially for organizations with a conservative budget. The reality of creating a VR project is that many hours go into modeling and developing an application. As a rule of thumb – organizations vetting XR training should keep in mind that custom geometry and 3D models drive the cost of an XR program. Luckily, you don’t need everything under the hood when it comes to assets.
For example, in a VR driving simulation, your vendor’s development team only needs to model the inside and outside surfaces of the car. Unless the training requires changing a battery or oil, there’s no need to model the engine or gears. Similarly, if airline employees never enter a plane in their role, a training program only needs to model the shell of the aircraft. While XR’s capabilities may inspire organizations to develop more, there should be a precise needs vs. wants assessment for delivering specific training experiences. It all depends on what 3D objects the learners need to interact with during training.
The design demands of your 3D design team impact the scope of your project. But did you know that only some things have to be made from scratch? By utilizing 3D models that have been used in previous projects, organizations can save time and money. The technical caveat is that some 3D models may need to be optimized for performance and reviewed for device compatibility. Computer Aided Design Models (CAD) are a good example of this. While they could potentially be imported into your project, they would need to be stripped of any meshes that aren’t seen and highly optimized. This way, developers can ensure that your program runs smoothly without lag and provides a better learner experience. Think of furnishing a new home, some of your existing furniture can help you complete your interior design vision faster.
Sometimes, scope creep is inevitable. And it’s not always a bad thing! Innovators in XR training are always pushing the boundaries and learning a lot in the process. XR capabilities are advancing rapidly and at times, even faster than the hardware. For newer projects customized to client needs, hardware limitations invite creativity. Scope creep isn’t always as black or white as you think. While pushing a project’s timeline can be avoided by solid planning, extending project development to drive innovation is something to be celebrated.
Staying On Course
Jumping through hoops leads to burnout. With the help of an experienced XR development team, organizations can stay on budget and build an effective learning experience. A strong learning strategy, SME involvement, and a clear project objective will ensure a polished final product. When an XR training program is designed around the root cause for learning objectives, exceptional training can take place. Want to learn more? Check out recent success stories.