Gold plating in project management is the practice of adding extra features or functionality to a project beyond what is necessary to complete the project successfully. This practice can have a negative impact on the scope, quality, and schedule of a project, and can ultimately lead to its failure. This is often the result of a lack of clear communication between the project manager and the client.
The project manager may misunderstand the client’s needs, or the client may change their mind about what they want during the course of the project. Either way, gold plating can cause the project to veer off course and become bogged down in unnecessary details.
Gold plating can also refer to taking on extra tasks that are not part of the original scope of work.
For example, a software development team may agree to build a custom report for a client even though that request was not included in the original project requirements.
While it can sometimes lead to a better product, it more often than not results in cost and schedule overruns, as well as scope Creep – the gradual expansion or increase in the scale or scope of a project beyond its original expectations.
This issue often arises from a breakdown in communication between the project manager and the client. There may be a misunderstanding of the client’s needs from the outset. Regardless, if left unchecked, gold plating can cause the project to become mired in unnecessary details and lose sight of the goals.
What leads to Gold Plating?
This usually happens when a project manager or team member is not confident that the project will be successful and wants to add features that will make it more likely to be successful.
It can be sometimes unavoidable, especially when stakeholders are involved in the decision-making process.
It can also happen when a project manager or team member is trying to make their own job more interesting or valuable. This can be common as they may do this by adding features that are not required, but that they think would be a nice addition. However, it is important to be aware of the risks involved in adding features that are not essential to the success of the project.
Project managers need to be aware of the potential for gold plating and take steps to avoid it. This includes setting clear objectives for the project, maintaining close communication with the client or sponsor, and having a well-defined process for managing changes to the scope.
Why is Gold Plating Bad For Projects?
It can cause a number of problems that can negatively impact your project management strategy. For example conflict and tension among team members.
When team members are working on unnecessary features, they may begin to feel like their time is being wasted. This can lead to frustration and conflict within the team.
There are several reasons why it is bad for projects:
1. It can cause scope creep
When extra features or functionality are added to a project, it can cause the scope of the project to creep. This can lead to the project taking longer than planned and costing more than budgeted.
2. It can jeopardize quality.
Adding extra features or functionality to a project can jeopardize the quality of the project. This is because there is often not enough time or resources allocated to testing and troubleshooting the new features. As a result, bugs and errors can make it into the final product.
3. It can cause delays.
Adding extra features or functionality to a project can cause delays in its schedule. This is because the team working on the project will need to take time to implement the new features. This can push back the project’s finish date and cause missed deadlines.
4. It can increase costs.
Adding extra features or functionality to a project can increase its costs. This is because more time and resources will need to be allocated to developing and testing the new features. This can cause the project to go over budget.
5. It can lead to project failure.
All its negative impacts (scope creep, quality issues, delays, increased costs) can come together to cause the project to not meet its objectives. In extreme cases, it can even cause a complete breakdown of the project.
- Adding features that aren’t actually needed: This is often done in an attempt to please stakeholders or meet unrealistic expectations. For example, a company might add a feature to their software that isn’t actually required, but they think it will make the product more appealing to customers.
- Developing functionality beyond what’s necessary: This often happens when the team doesn’t have a clear understanding of the scope of the project. They might develop functionality that isn’t actually required, which leads to increased costs and delays.
- Making changes after the project has already started: Changes are sometimes made to the scope of a project after it has already begun. This can be due to changes in stakeholder requirements or new information that’s been discovered during development. These changes can add unnecessary complexity and cost to the project.
How to avoid gold plating in your projects?
There are several steps that you can take to avoid gold plating in your projects:
Establish Clear communication
Establish clear communication with your client from the start. Make sure that you understand their needs and wants before starting work on the project.
It is important to clearly define the scope of work with the client or customer and get their sign-off before starting development. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page in terms of what features or functionality should be included in the final product.
Set Clear Objectives
Set clear objectives for the project and make sure that everyone involved understands them. Once the objectives are set, stick to them and resist any temptation to add extra features or functionality beyond what is necessary.
Make a Detailed Plan
Create a detailed plan for the project that includes timeframes and budget constraints. This will help keep everyone focused on meeting the objectives within the allocated timeframe and budget.
Make sure that new features or functionality are properly tested before being implemented into the final product. This will help ensure that any bugs or errors are found and fixed before they cause problems later on.
Be Prepared To Make Trade-Offs
There may be times when you need to make trade-offs between adding features and meeting deadlines. It’s important to be prepared for these situations and have a plan for how you’ll handle them. Discussing these trade-offs with stakeholders ahead of time will help ensure that everyone is on board with the decision.
Scope Creep vs Gold Plating: The Differences You Need To Know
Scope creep and gold plating is two common problems that can occur during the course of a project. Both refer to the phenomenon of adding features or functionality beyond the scope of the original project.
Gold plating is often seen as a result of scope creep when the original scope of the project is not well defined or understood.
Scope creep is the gradual expansion or inflation of a project’s goals, deliverables, timeline, or budget. It can happen when the project’s objectives are not clearly defined, or when the project team fails to adequately control the project’s scope.
It can also occur when new stakeholders are added to the project, or when stakeholders change their minds about what they want the project to achieve.
It is generally considered to be the result of poor project management, while gold plating is often seen as a deliberate decision by the project manager or team in order to “add value” to the project.
The main difference between scope creep and gold plating is that scope creep is generally seen as a result of poor project management, while gold plating is often a deliberate decision by the project manager or team.
Gold plating can lead to scope creep, but it is not the same thing. Scope creep is the gradual expansion of a project’s goals, deliverables, timeline, or budget. While
Gold plating is the practice of adding features or functionality beyond what is required by the customer or client.
Importance of gold plating and scope creep in PMP Exam
In order to become a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP), one must pass an exam that tests their knowledge of the PMP Body of Knowledge.
This exam is made up of multiple-choice questions, some of which are based on case studies. The PMP exam is a test of your ability to manage a project effectively. As such, it is important to be familiar with both gold plating and scope creep. It is important to be able to identify and manage both before taking the PMP exam.
You’re developing a whole new software platform for one of your customers. As the project manager, you are aware that you are with more limited resources than usual. In the past, some other projects added unrequested features to the software in order to impress the stakeholders. They were mandating that this time due to the tight budget and schedule nothing should be added.
As you develop your project management plan, you should pay particular attention to which of the following in order to prevent this sort of gold plating from re-occurring.
A. Cost Management Plan
B. Scope Management Plan
D. Project Charter
The answer is Answer: B
Planning – Scope Management
The scope management plan should specify ways to avoid gold plating while ensuring that all agreed requirements are fulfilled in the deliverable.
What is Gold Plating in Project Management?
What is Gold Plating in Project Management?
It is the act of adding features or functionality to a product or service beyond what is absolutely necessary to complete the work or reach the target goal.
How Gold Plating can affect your project?
Ultimately, gold plating can undermine your project management if it leads to cost and schedule overruns, compromises quality, or delays in delivery. To avoid these issues, it is important to define the scope of work upfront and encourage open communication with the client or customer throughout the duration of the project.
What are the main causes of Gold Plating?
There are a number of reasons why gold plating occurs, but the most common ones are a lack of clear project scope, management pressure to add extra features, and a lack of understanding of the project’s objectives.
How to avoid Gold Plating in your project?
In order to do this, project managers must ensure that all team members understand the scope of work and the project requirements. In addition, project managers should provide clear guidance on what features or finishes are necessary and which are not. By avoiding gold plating, project managers can save time and money, and deliver on time.
When does Gold Plating happen?
Gold plating occurs when the project team goes above and beyond the agreed-upon scope, quality, schedule, or budget. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as a desire to please the client or a lack of understanding of the project requirements.