Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Scope Creep

Beware of Scope Creep!

Yesterday I began making the items for a certain customer's order. She asked for, among other things, 4 Onion Soup bowls. Getting my clay ready, I thought '4 onion soups... better make an extra just in case... actually, onion soups would be a good thing to have on hand and the shelves are empty, better make 4 extra, no, better make about 8 extra'. So that was 13 bowls. Then I was throwing them and realized that I could put the handles on a different way than I have been doing if I made the rims differently. So then I decided to make 13 the old way and maybe a dozen or so the new way.

But wait! From needing 4 onion soup shapes for an order, here I was making 25 of them.

Normally, that wouldn't be a problem, but in this case it meant I wouldn't have time to make all the items in that order that day, or trim them all the next and then I'd be behind on the next order, etc etc etc.

That is Scope Creep. Where the project expands until it's more than you can handle and gets you bogged down so you get behind on other things and you can't get it all done so you get discouraged and it's no fun and maybe you should quit...

Mind you, a table full of items not suffering from scope creep doesn't impress anyone - one of these and one of those and so on. But at least one customer's order will be done, and in reasonable time.
pottery items to be fired
    Not impressive, but done.

Note: Over the next few months, I will be writing an occasional post about, to quote Robin Hopper's book title, 'Stayin Alive'. After 25 years as a self-employed craftsperson, I feel I have learned a few things and want to pass them on. Lots of the things I'll talk about you will already know, or at least have heard about, but it you learn even one thing it will be worthwhile, both for you to read and for me to write. You'll be be able to access them under the category 'Stayin Alive'.