What Is Goldplating The Projects and Why Shouldn't It Be Done

Goldplating is adding extra value-adds to the project deliverables. The value-add is something that was never asked by the customer in first place. It is never the part of the formal requirement document.

However, during project execution, a developer may feel (out of enthusiasm) that adding a certain feature to his module may lead to increased performance and user-friendliness for the application in question. So, Mr.Enthusiastic codes his thoughts and integrates with the original requirement. He then communicates the client regarding the proposed process improvement and value-add to the project.

Client however, does not show much interest and rejects the proposed value-add. Why?

There are several reasons why goldplating the project requirements is not recommended. A Client Project Manager who strictly adheres to PMI® standard may even reject the value-add. Some of the reason why goldplating is  discouraged are:

1. More than 70% of the projects fail to achieve the constraints of Time and Budget. Also, the project scope and requirements are seldom achieved in agreed timelines. Therefore, adding additional effort and cost to achieve something that is not part of the requirements increases project risk.
2. Additional integration effort is required for the value-add. If this is not done, the value-add may have adverse effect on the Product as a sum.
3. Additional effort in other areas of management like communications management, stakeholder management, risk management and documentation is required which is not part of the agreed upon efforts. This leads to effort slippage.

Also, if its a mandate to implement a certain value-add, one must traverse the value-add through all phases of change management. It also means that one should consider implementing the value-add as a change request after client approval.
Therefore, unless one has enough time, budget and resources to perform proper integration (which is never the case in ideal world scenario) of the goldplated deliverable, one must discourage goldplating!