Ask an Admin: How Do I Talk to My Boss about Scope Creep?

June 1, 2023


admin and boss talking

Welcome to the first installment of Career Corner: a monthly blog series from ASAP that offers career advice from seasoned professionals, in response to questions from administrative and executive assistants.

One topic we see come up a lot, including in the ASAP Circle community, is the problem of scope creep as an admin professional and how to stop it.

Scope creep can happen on a specific project or in your daily job functions, when you're either given tasks outside of a project's scope or responsibilities outside of your current job description. For example, if your manager or executive asks you to take on event planning duties that fall outside of your current scope of work and capacity, this could be an instance of scope creep.

Addressing the matter of scope creep with your boss, however, can be tricky to pull off. With this in mind, we brought the following "Ask an Admin" question to Peyton Greenfield Ticknor. Peyton is a Senior Administrative Assistant at Target and a leading member of the ASAP Advisory Board.

Watch Peyton's video response and read more below!

Question: How do I talk about scope creep with my boss?

Peyton Greenfield Ticknor: The best advice I can give someone on talking to their boss about scope creep is to be open, honest, and timely. Do not let it go on for a long time before you have this conversation.  

Be Honest

I would find a 30-minute time that works best for the two of you, you can call it "Check In,” and I would be honest. I know this can be hard to do, but trust me, after the conversation, you will feel better.  

Come Prepared

Here is how I would go into the meeting. First, start by asking what they think your strengths are, and what they think your opportunities are. You should be prepared with a list of what you think those things are as well.

Have the job description you were hired for with you and ready, both digitally and on paper if meeting in person. Let them know the parts of the job that excited you the most when you applied and interviewed.  

Next, bring up the tasks you are doing outside of the job description and which ones you don't enjoy the most. Ask if there is someone in the company you can partner with to complete these tasks, or if there is any money in the budget to hire an additional person to take these things on, even part-time. Make sure you let them know you are willing to help and be a team player, but for long-term success and job satisfaction, those are things that you aren't excited about. 

Make a Decision

If the outcome of the meeting is that you are stuck with those unwanted job duties and tasks, you must then decide if you will embrace them or start looking for other opportunities. There are often times in an administrative job posting that says, “Other duties as assigned” or “Job duties may change due to business need.” You ultimately have to decide how you want to proceed if the outcome of the conversation is that these new tasks are part of the job. 

Best of luck and I will be rooting for you! 

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