How to Melt a "Snowball Project"

You don't have to implement everything. Here's how to keep your projects from growing too big to control.
April 30, 2013

We’ve all had what designer Nico Hämäläinen refers to as a “Snowball Project”—a project that quickly escalates in its size and demand (which is sometimes also known as “scope creep”). From Hämäläinen’s post:

A while after starting to implement a new project, I might realize that I’ve forgotten a couple of things. Fast forward a bit more, the project starts turning into a something that keeps growing in complexity the more you work on it; a snowball project.

How do we melt these snowballs?

What I try to do nowadays with my projects is that whenever I have an idea for a new feature or change into my project, what I feel is going to improve some part of the product. I write it down and forget about it. This way I can see if the same idea keeps popping up, and the more it pops up, the more it’s likely needed, and more likely be implemented.

Stop implementing everything, and only do the absolute essentials of your product for it to work.

This post was originally published on

Sean Blanda is the managing editor of 99u.

Photos: iStockphoto