Scope Creep

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What Does Scope Creep Mean?

Scope creep refers to a project that has seen its original goals expand while it’s in progress. As the term suggests, scope creep is a subtle process that starts with small adjustments and ends up resulting in projects that take far longer to complete or even fail before they are finished. Even if the project is completed, scope creep can result in final deliverables that look nothing like what was originally envisioned.

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Scope creep may also be called creep of scope.

Techopedia Explains Scope Creep

Scope creep can occur for a number of reasons, including:

  • A poor understanding of the original project
  • Changing market conditions
  • Competing forces within a company

To avoid the worst kinds of scope creep, a project manager should consider even minor adjustments to the original project scope carefully and rework time lines, provide new estimates and communicate with the stakeholders before integrating changes. This should filter out all but the most important concerns.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.