Project Scope in Project Management

by on March 10, 2012 in Course Preparation, Guests Column, PMP®, Project Management, Trainer Articles

What is Project Scope in Project Management?

Without knowing what you need to do perfectly, you can’t really get success in the project. You need to know firstly what is the work required to accomplish the project objectives or project goals. Without this you can’t plan your project properly and in result the project will be failed like any. If you plan your project without knowing the boundaries, there is a more chance of project failure. As a project manager you need to know what else work required in your project to get the project goal. And this is known as project scope in the project management. It means you have to define the scope neatly before making planning.

The main purpose of the scope definition is to clearly describe the boundaries of your project. Clearly describing the boundaries is not enough when it comes to project. You need to get the customer’s agreement as well. You need to get the stakeholders agreement as well.

A project manager should prevent out of scope work otherwise your project can be over budgeted and behind the schedule. In the project scope definition, the elements within the scope and out of the scope are well defined in order to clearly understand what will be the area under the project control. Therefore, you should identify more elements in detailed manner and divide them among the scope and out of scope.

How to Define the Project Scope:

In the project charter itself you can get the product description and project objectives in the high level. You need to elaborate the same in the manageable way by taking confidence of your customer and all the stakeholders involved in the project. This high level scope statement can be taken also from the initial documents such as SOW or Contract.

Project objectives can be used for defining the project scope. As a matter of fact, there should be one or more deliveries addressing each project objective in the project. By looking at the deliverables, you can actually gauge the project scope. Once you get to know the main deliverables of the project, start asking questions about the other processes and different aspects of the project.

One best way is to work on what else can be out of scope work for your project. Doing this, you can select what else work need to be perform in your project. Just eliminate the out of scope work from your project. Concentrate on what else work you need to do. Plan it effectively. Try to achieve the same. In order to follow this method, you need to have a defined scope up to a certain level. Whenever you identify an item for the scope or out-of-scope, make sure you document it then and there. Later, you can revisit these items and elaborate more on those.

Once the scope is finalized you need to take a sign-off from your project sponsor or customer for the final approval on the scope.

Scope Creep:

Scope creep is inevitable. It must be there in your project. The change demand can be from your customer, stakeholders, project core team. As you have defined the scope already in a place, now you need to check whether this change demand is matching with the scope defined or it is out of scope, if it is within the project boundaries, you need to consider on the project constraints, after analyzing the same, you need to put a change request to the CCB. It’s up to them to decide whether this change is required or not. After their approval you need to implement those changes in your project. There might be a chance of revisit of the planning; your documents can be updated also.

There can be technological scope creep as well. The project team may require new technologies in order to address some of the new requirements in the scope. In such instances, the services provider may want to work with the customer closely and make necessary logistic and financial arrangements.

So, it is a project manager responsibility to define the scope correctly – As per PMI, gold plating is not allowed at all in the project management, so it is the project manager’s accountability to prevent the gold plating as well.

Pradip Dwevedi,PMP

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