Have you ever been involved in a project where extra work is continually added to the original scope? In projects like this, you might encounter gold plating. Gold plating is a project management term loosely related to scope creep. When gold plating occurs, you keep adding plans to a project even though the incremental benefits of those plans don’t amount to much. You’d be better off leaving out the additional plans because they don’t make that big of an impact.
Gold plating happens because of poor planning. When you start a project, you should know the end goal. Although it’s reasonable to make changes along the way, your project plan should stay fairly close to the original plan you made. Once you have met your project’s requirements, work should stop. If you decide to add on additional plans or want to sneak in some bonus features, you’ve begun gold plating.
Gold plating sounds innocent. If you’re completing a job for a client, it may actually seem like a good way to get bonus points. However, be wary of some downsides to gold plating. For starters, if you add things the client didn’t agree to, they may come back and ask you to redo the project. Even if the extra things you added are helpful to your client, it wasn’t what they ordered, and they have the right to decline your final product. Also, gold plating sets you up to disappoint your client in the future if you don’t add extras for free. Once you add extras, your client will always expect extras. So stick to your original plan that was agreed upon by the client. If extra work doesn’t reap tons of benefits, you’re better off delivering on the original agreement and actively avoiding gold plating.