When Scope Creeps Like Kudzu

1024px-Kudzu_field_horz2 Japanese arrowroot is the name of a group of plants in the pea family. Sounds innocuous, right? What if you learned that these plants are “climbing, coiling and trailing perennial vines”? Still sound innocuous? What if you were then told that these plants are more commonly known as Kudzu and are considered noxious and invasive? Now are you concerned?

You should be. On his website Jack Anthony has some astonishing photos of what happens when kudzu is left to creep unchecked. These photos are accompanied by equally astonishing commentary:

Kudzu vines will cover buildings and parked vehicles over a period of years if no attempt is made to control its growth. A number of abandoned houses, vehicles and barns covered with kudzu can be seen in Georgia and other southern states.

Even if you don’t work in landscape design, I am certain you have experienced the encroaching nature of kudzu at the office. It is most commonly seen in projects that lack firm direction and a disciplined team.  While the project may start out with a clear purpose and agreed budget and schedule, over time the budget, schedule and even purpose can get blurry as well-intentioned people start adding items to the project’s scope. In extreme cases, scope creep (like kudzu) can obliterate the landscape, while totally demoralizing team members and tarnishing their professional reputations.

If you are ever tempted to turn a blind eye as project scope creeps around you, consider the extreme case of the Bradley armored personnel carrier (see below) and think again. Would you ever want to be associated with a mess like that? If not, then be sure to curtail the kudzu around you.



[Photo Credit: Galen Parks Smith, Kudzu covered field near Port Gibson, Mississippi)