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A Growing Collection

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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For a lot of people, a collection seems to be an assembly of things they like — if it is thought of in that way at all.

But really, what is a collection, and how do they work?

Collecting has been around for thousands of years and collections themselves have been studied for a long, long time.

Collections are actually curated and if this is starting to sound more like a museum than a bunch of shit you like that you've thrown into a box — bingo.

Collections are developed around the concept — or within the framework — of a theme. Although often undisciplined, every object a person owns could be considered a part of their life collection. In the case of a car collection, the theme would be cars. Regardless, the difference between a bunch of shit cluttering your house and a collection lies within the considered, planned approach to its development. I realize that sounds pedantic and almost ridiculous because most people enjoy the freedom to do what they like, especially when surrounding themselves with the things that bring them joy, however, that approach to collecting can cause a multitude of problems.

That brings us to a concept that has been carefully and thoroughly studied in the discipline of project management: scope and its related subject, scope creep. Believe it or not scope creep is a real thing, and it's something that happens in virtually every aspect of life.

Scope is the term used to describe the size of a project and the list of details it includes.

Within the subject of collecting, scope manifests itself in the area of the pieces in a collection, and scope creep is concerned with those pieces — and if the term sounds like it has a negative connotation, it's because it does.

Scope creep occurs when uncontrolled and unwanted growth to the scope happens. In the situation of a collection, this would occur when you start changing the limits and direction of your focus with your swaying and evolving interests.

What scope creep does is place strain on all of your resources, which means, in order to be successful in any endeavor, including achieving the goals of your collection, they need to be well defined, achievable, and most important, measurable. They also need to be controlled — which is achieved through comparing, or measuring, your results against your well defined definition — so that scope creep doesn't rear its ugly head and your one car "collection" doesn't become a seven car collection which is unmanageable with your available resources.

Basically, a collection is a number of items which are curated within a defined vision, but a big part of making a collection successful is carefully managing its scope within the definition of the vision for the collection.


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