Excessive software development: Practices and penalties

Ofira Shmueli, Boaz Ronen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study focuses on the tendency to develop software excessively, above and beyond need or available development resources. The literature pays little attention to this issue, overlooking its crucial impact and penalties. Terms used in reference to excessive software development practices include over-requirement, over-specification, over-design, gold-plating, bells-and-whistles, feature creep, scope creep, requirements creep, featuritis, scope overload and over-scoping. Some of these terms share the same meaning, some overlap, some refer to the development phase, and some to the final system. Via a systematic literature search, we first demonstrate the poor state of research about excessive software development practices in the information systems and project management areas. Then, we suggest a framework consolidating the problems associated with excessive software development in three ‘beyond’ categories (beyond needs, beyond resources, beyond plans), describe and analyze their causes, consequences, boundaries and overlapping zones. Finally, we discuss the findings and present directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-27
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Bells-and-whistles
  • Feature creep
  • Featuritis
  • Gold-plating
  • Mission creep
  • Over-design
  • Over-requirement
  • Over-scoping
  • Over-specification
  • Project management
  • Requirements creep
  • Scope creep
  • Scope overload
  • Software development


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