When you’re working on a large-scale software development project - especially as part of a sizable enterprise business - it’s easy for the project’s original goals to become muddied over time. As the goalposts shift further and further from their starting point, timelines can slip and the efficiency of the project can be undermined.
This kind of scope creep can be seriously damaging for organisations, but thankfully the software engineering community has been hard at work for years on strategies to help limit its spread within organisations. Returning to the podcast this week to discuss some of these strategies - as well as how scope creep can sometimes be beneficial - is Jess Cregg, developer advocate at LaunchDarkly.
“It's really easy for it to happen, because as soon as it's just one more thing, things can spiral out of control. And the ‘just one more thing’ rule doesn't usually end up eating into the main time that you frame for your project, for the thing that you're developing; it falls into the time you've allocated to either cut down on technical debt, or the time you've allocated to perfect your overall process - that 20% time that we talk about in DevOps.”
“Scope creep can be really powerful from an incidents perspective. I mean, if we're looking at game days and chaos engineering, the idea of creating incident days where things go wrong in a way that's outside of your scope to correct, is a fascinating way of finding out just how things fit together. So I think that's a really good way that scope creep can be used to strengthen your organisation.”
“One of the really encouraging things we're seeing at the moment - and I've seen this loads on Twitter - is a lot of senior engineers are developing this sort of sense, this sort of reflex, to understand, ‘Wait a second, do we actually need to build this? I remember seeing someone recently talk about how being a senior engineer is essentially having endless conversations about why you shouldn't make something.”
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