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What is the difference between scope creep and gold plating?

While both scope creep and gold plating involve adding extra features to a project or initiative, these terms have slightly different meanings. 

In project management, scope creep is when extra features are added to a project at the request of a client. This can occur when the scope is hazily defined or agreed upon informally. Scope creep can cause costs to spiral and should be avoided.

Gold plating, on the other hand, is when a project team adds on features that were not requested by the client. The reasons for gold plating can vary. Sometimes this is done to gain the approval of a client or internal management. This is also occasionally done to draw attention away from project defects. 

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