Scope creep (also called requirement creep, or kitchen sink syndrome) in project management refers to changes, continuous or uncontrolled growth in a project’s scope, at any point after the project begins. This can occur when the scope of a project is not properly defined, documented, or controlled. It is generally considered harmful. It is related to but distinct from feature creep, because feature creep refers to features and scope creep refers to the whole project.
Scope creep can be a result of:
- poor change control
- lack of proper initial identification of what is required to bring about the project objectives
- weak project manager or executive sponsor
- poor communication between parties
- lack of initial product versatility
These aspects can affect the operational efficiencies of companies, especially when involved in long-term relationships. Scope creep is a risk in most projects. Most megaprojects fall victim to scope creep (see Megaprojects and Risk). Scope creep often results in cost overrun. A "value for free" strategy is difficult to counteract and remains a difficult challenge for even the most experienced project managers.
- Lewis, James (2002). Fundamentals of Project Management (Second ed.). AMACOM. pp. 29, 63. ISBN 0-8144-7132-3.
- Kendrick, Tom (2015). "Chapter 3. Identifying Project Scope Risk". Identifying and Managing Project Risk: Essential Tools for Failure-Proofing Your Project (3rd ed.). AMACOM. pp. 50–52. ISBN 978-0-8144-3609-7.
- Invernizzi, Diletta Colette; Locatelli, Giorgio; Brookes, Naomi J. (2018-07-04). "The need to improve communication about scope changes: frustration as an indicator of operational inefficiencies" (PDF). Production Planning & Control. 29 (9): 729–742. doi:10.1080/09537287.2018.1461949. ISSN 0953-7287.