Ok, the title of this article doesn't quite reflect the real topic of the article. Actually, we're going to focus mostly on something called "scope creep."
But hang in there--scope creep directly relates to the issue of how to effectively manage improvements to your site. If you're the kind of site owner who is continually revising, expanding, and improving your website, this is definitely a term to learn.
So, what is scope creep?
To put it simply, it's what happens when the scope or focus of your site changes over time as you make improvements and as you gain new understanding of what your site really needs to encompass. The scope of the site expands, or "creeps."
It works like this: Suppose you have a site devoted to widgets, and you're focused on providing reviews of various different widgets. Eventually, you decide you're not taking full advantage of your potential, and you decide you'd like to actually SELL widgets.
That's scope creep.
Of course, scope creep isn't always that drastic. For example, once you get your online store up and running to sell widgets, you might decide you want to run a promotion offering free shipping. At that point, you have to add an announcement somewhere on your site about free shipping.
That example is on a smaller scale, but it's still scope creep. It changes the focus of your message to your visitors, and it requires a change in the content on your site.
Scope creep is inevitable, in one sense. Websites will always be changing. And if you're a good site owner, you'll recognize the need to continually tweak and revise your site. That's a good thing--your site should be flexible enough to respond to new needs that arise.
However, there are a few problems with scope creep.
First of all, it can often happen as a result of poor planning. Site owners often decide to create a website without really thinking through the structure of the site and the information that needs to be presented.