What is Project Scope?
We can define it with one sentence: “The work that needs to be accomplished to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions.” The scope is the most important element to understand about any project. All planning, budgeting and allocation of resources are anchored to this understanding. So, any project manager must take pain to manage it.
Project Scope Management Processes
Project Scope Management includes the processes required to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully. Managing the project scope is primarily
concerned with defining and controlling what is and is not included in the project. The Project Scope Management processes include the following:
The process of defining and documenting stakeholders’ needs to meet the project objectives.
The process of developing a detailed description of the project and product.
The process of subdividing project deliverables and project work into smaller, more manageable components.
The process of formalizing acceptance of the completed project deliverables.
The process of monitoring the status of the project and product scope and managing changes to the scope baseline.
Best Practices for Scope Management
Each project manager has her own practice to manage the project scope. Here addressing some basic principles for effective scope management.
1. Project scope must be based on requirements
The scope statement includes deliverables that the project must produce to fulfill requirements. While requirements are written in business language, project deliverables are written in product-oriented language. Any change request regarding project deliverables must be preceded by a change in requirements.
You cannot add features that do not reflect any requirements. Many people do that just because they want their customers to be happy, or because there is time left until the deadline of a particular deliverable. This practice is referred to as gold plating.
2. Create a Good Work Breakdown Structure
A work breakdown structure or WBS is a graphical representation of the hierarchy of the project. The WBS forces the project team to think through all levels of the project and identify the major tasks that need to be performed for the project to be completed on time. By starting with the end objective and then successively subdividing it into manageable steps or components in terms of size, duration, and responsibility, the WBS provides a high level view of the entire project. Furthermore, the framework makes planning and controlling the scope of the project much easier since you have a graphical chart to reference point for the tasks and subtasks needed for each phase of the project. As a general rule of thumb, no task within the WBS should be less than 8 hours or more than 80 hours.
3. Managing scope change.
Every time a customer requests a change to the scope of the project, ensure that the requirements are properly documented and review the impact on the project deliverables. Ensure that once you have documented any impact, being cost, time or deliverable change, the customer signs the scope change document. Then make sure that the additional resources, time, money or people are provided and assigned to the project. Where necessary, hold scope change meetings to discuss the change and prioritize against the current deliverables.
4. Verified regularly with project stakeholders
The produced deliverables must be verified with stakeholders to ensure that these deliverables do fulfill requirements. You can verify scope at each project milestone or whenever a key deliverable is completed. It is not necessary to wait until the end of the project to verify all deliverables.
By regularly verifying scope, you can ensure that you do not produce deliverables that do not fulfill requirements. Project stakeholders are informed about the project status; as a result they can give you timely feedbacks about deliverables.
For project manager, regularly reviewing the project scope can increase your chances for a successful project and keep your stakeholder’s expectations aligned with the goals of the project.