Fork is a separation from the main project using its codebase to create a new one. Each new branch can develop independently of the main project, and it can implement features that were not in the main project. For example, Litecoin is a fork of Bitcoin because its developers copied the Bitcoin code, made a number of changes, and launched a new project.
Making a fork is the only way to update the blockchain and its protocols. Forks can be planned and managed by the core team, or they can be initiated by a group of developers who are unhappy with some aspect of the project. There are soft forks when a change is backward compatible with the previous version, and hard forks when a new branch is radically different from the main project.