Feature Creep

What is Feature Creep?


Phenomenon whereby a software package gains many more features than originally intended.

Generally the product of optimistic programmers or overambitious managers, feature creep is generally considered a bad thing. Feature creep makes a program that would have done one thing well into a program that does ten things, all poorly. Microsoft Outlooksuffers badly from feature creep.

Her: Oh, we could add TCP/IP remote management!

Him: We need to make sure it has a standard SNMP interface. And metrics analysis.

Me: Watch out for feature creep - it's only a screen saver.


A dangerous disease of writing software: the original set of features is constantly added to by the product managers, driving the software engineers batty and causing massive delays in release of the product.

The program was delayed nine months by constant feature creep.

See Luigi


Feature creep or scope creep is what happens when a project (usually software) spirals out of control and starts to have features added to it that were not intended, were not in the original design, or were not paid for. Feature creep usually results in bad times for the builders of the project as well as the company they work for.

Feature creep is generally a result of poor management or a bad idea, in which nobody had the balls to say "no" to either the bad design in the first place, or to the guy who wanted to add the features (which can be as often one of the people building it as one of the people paying for it).

Feature creep has made its way into the public arena as mission creep, to describe a political or military adventure that has gone out of control in the same way, for the same reasons.

I would have been out partying this weekend, but thanks to feature creep, I was working all weekend instead.


In contracting (particularly Software Development), the natural tendency of the customer to continually request small additions which were not part of the original specifications, gradually reaching critical mass.

Dilbert: "Your requirements call for 4000 features! You realize that no Human would be able to operate a product with this level of complexity?"

Customer: "Good point. I'd better add 'easy to use' to the list."


A term used to describe extra features being included in a project, after the project was supposedly already closed to new features.

I thought we were nearly done with this computer program, but feature creep from marketing means we'll be working for another 2 weeks at least.


Delay extending the release date of a product due to the manufacturers wanting to add 'new and improved' functions to the product

Feature creap can prolong a release date with infinate delay. see Vaporware

Duke Nukem Forever was a victim of feature creep and is now Vaporware


The progressive addition of requirements into a project (especially software) after the specification has been completed. This can result in bloat and an end product that seems to have lots of extra bits attached with duct tape.

This is often caused by managers or consultants that do not have a clear view of what product development entails and start sentences with "How easy would it be to..."

Just to warn you: Will is the king of feature creep. If he suggests another feature to you, tell him to run it by me first. That'll calm him down.


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