It is important to understand that there is a relationship between the three basic constraints of a project: time, cost, scope. Difficulty arises due to the fact that management of a project requires that the project's Scope, Schedule and Cost are managed simultaneously. A common mistake that project managers often make is that they don't realize the critical relationship between these three elements.
Since a project schedule is closely connected to the delivery time and scope of project as will be discussed in the latter sections of this paper, a little variation in the scope can affect delivery and in turn affect the success of the project. This edging forward of scope to accommodate more requirements that were not included in the initial planning of the project while maintaining the same time frame for project delivery, is referred to as Scope Creep. Scope creep can stultify a project and if uncurbed, can prove to be fatal for the project. Scope creep is frequently viewed as one of the top reasons for project failures. This paper will discuss Scope creep in details and will also highlight the reasons why it occurs and what are how it endangers success of an IT project.
Scope creep is generally defined as "the propensity for a project to extend beyond its initial boundaries". It is the unexpected or uncalled-for expansion in the size of a project. When the customer's expectations change so that the previously agreed upon set of deliverables is exceeded in features or functionality, the project is said to be suffering from what is referred to as "scope creep". Scope creep appears during the course of a project in different ways. It can occur through many minor changes, or it can take place because of a profound change in approach to the design of the project. Regardless of how it takes place, scope creep is damaging to the overall project budget and schedule. It lead to cost and schedule overruns due to increased project scope. The outcome of scope creep is most likely extra design charges due to additional design work.
The scope creep can be categorized into two types given below, based on the users who initiate changes to project scope:
1. Business Scope Creep
2. Technology Scope Creep
2.1. Business Scope Creep
Systems are configured to solve the business needs of a company. Due to continuous changes in market dynamics, the requirements that were previously defined at the start of project may change. Outsourced or built by in-house development team, in all IT projects, the project team is expected to gather requirements from the users and other key stakeholders of the system. This requirements analysis phase is characterized by meetings, interviews, and questionnaires with the client about the existing system and what is expected in terms of functionality from the new system. In most cases, it is often difficult for business users to imagine or foresee the new system till they see it functional and running. Only then are they able to come up with some requirements for the system and not before that.
When the users see the new system for the first time, changes may be needed because any new applications will at first be unknown to users. Many a times, the user perspective is to always look for things