An Internal Revenue Service employee processes tax returns in the mail room April 12, 2001 at the IRS East Coast headquarters in Brookhaven, New York. As the deadline for tax filing approaches, the IRS is now offering a variety of payment options, including e-mail and credit cards. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Newsmakers)(Getty Images)

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The title of this daily blog might suggest to be on the lookout for a creepy guy checking you out with a telescope. Sorry while that is creepy, it’s not the kind of “scope creep” I’m talking about.

Definition of “Scope Creep”

While almost every business has experienced “scope creep” at one time or another, they might not have known the definition of their situation.

Let’s say you have a simple project at your workplace. You are working away getting near completion and someone comes along and adds some additional work to the project.

This common practice is known as “scope creep.” The size and scope of the project begins to grow as more tasks and responsibilities creep in. If not clearly defined and controlled the project will eventually collapse under it’s own weight.

Requirement Creep and Feature Creep

As more requirements are added and deadlines are unattainable the project begins to bog down taking employee confidence and moral with it.

It’s like an animal designed by committee. More and more features are added until costs are outside the budgets.

Social Scope Creep

This phenomenon happens in our everyday lives too. Every year we plan some type of property improvement and it rarely stays within the parameters we set at the beginning.

Things always seem to cost more than we budgeted for and when one space is done we question the look of other spaces and the work suddenly overwhelms the pleasure we expected at the end.

Kid’s Scope Creep

Any parent who every found out at the last minute that a school project is due tomorrow knows about “kid scope creep.” One more thing you didn’t need along with soccer or band practice, basketball, football, and baseball.

Uber drivers do less pickup’s than soccer moms.

Some Final Thoughts

Famous baseball pitcher Satchel Page once said, “Don’t look back something might be gaining on you.”

That was a very early definition of “scope creep.”

While this post will help you identify when you are a victim of scope creep there is no way I know of to prevent it from invading your daily routine.

But don’t you feel better knowing that it has a name?

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