At the beginning of any project, it is important to determine exactly what is to be accomplished. After the goal is determined, it is necessary to figure out how to reach it; any issues that are not directly related to the goal are merely distractions. If such distracting and tangential factors begin to interfere with the project, the project can go off track and fail to yield the specific outcome; this type of tangential interference is known as scope creep.
This beyond-the-scope phenomenon can be an issue for all types of projects. Regardless of the size, type, or breadth of a project, if unnecessary issues are introduced or superfluous concerns obscure the ultimate goal, the project will be derailed and fail to yield the sole desired outcome. Part of effective project management is ensuring that such tangential issues are not permitted to lead to scope creep.
Effective leadership, sometimes known as project management, is essential to completing any project successfully. In addition to avoiding scope creep, those in charge of project management must also ensure that the project remains within given budgetary constraints and develops within the appropriate time frame.
This term is defined in the 3rd and the 4th edition of the PMBOK.