It’s every project manager’s dream that the project goes on effortlessly from initiation to completion, without delays and exceeding budgets. But, that hardly happens in reality.
Even if you discuss and plan out all the particulars in advance with all the project stakeholders involved, there’s always something that changes the scope of the project during its course. In fact, scope creep is a major concern for project managers, affecting 52% of the projects.
By managing the scope of the project, you can document everything required to accomplish the project goal and avoid issues like scope creep.
What is project scope management?
Project scope management is a process that aids in determining and documenting the list of all the project goals, tasks, deliverables, deadlines, and budgets as a part of the planning process. In project management, it is common for a big project to have changes along the way.
With the scope in the project management defined right in the beginning, it becomes much easier for project teams to cope and make the required changes.
Importance of project scope management
For a project manager, handling the expectations of the stakeholders and clients is one of the most difficult tasks. With a fixed project scope, managers can effortlessly stay on track and confirm that all the deadlines are being followed throughout the project life cycle.
A well-defined project scope management helps elude common issues like:
- Continuously changing requirements
- Turning the project course when you are already mid-way
- Realizing that the final result isn’t what was expected
- Going over the expected budget
- Falling behind the project deadlines
Effective project scope management provides a clear idea about the time, labor, and cost involved in the project. It helps to differentiate between what is needed and what isn’t needed for accomplishing the project. Scope in project management also establishes the control factors of the project to report elements that might change during the project life cycle.
How is the project scope defined?
Project scope is a part of the project preparation process that documents specific goals, deliverables, features, and budgets. The scope document details the list of actions for the successful achievement of the project.
The scope is well-defined by understanding the project requirements and the client’s expectations. The scope statement usually contains,
- Project objectives
- Product deliverables
- Project constraints
- Project assumptions
Scope statement in project management
The project’s scope statement is also termed its scope document or statement of work. The project scope statement
- Details all the boundaries of the project while also establishing the duties of the team,
- Defines all the measures that need to be followed for verifying and approving the finished work, and,
- Gives team members a definitive parameter for making project-related decisions.
When documenting the scope of a project, team members and stakeholders have to be as precise as possible to avoid scope creep, a situation where some parts of the project end up taking more time and effort than primarily discussed due to miscommunication or poor planning.
With effective project management, teams are able to confirm that the project is finished on deadline, a proper project communication plan is completed, and the final product lines up with the initial requirements.
Project Scope Management Process
Let’s discuss the six processes involved in exactly identifying the project scope management:
1. Planning Scope Management
In the first process in project scope management, you produce a scope plan document that you can refer to in the later steps. The document chiefly helps in defining, managing, validating, and controlling the project’s scope.
- Complete project scope statement
- Breakdown of entire project requirements
- Estimated project deliverables
- Project change control process
The document doesn’t have to be very detailed, it just has to be suitable for the purpose. You can also use a previous project’s scope management strategy as a reference for this.
2. Collecting Requirements
The next stage is to work out stakeholder requirements and expectations. You will be obligated to document all the project requirements, expectations, budgets, and deliverables through interviews, surveys, and focus groups.
This is a somewhat important step because more often than not, stakeholders can have unrealistic requirements or expectations and the project managers would be required to step in to find a solution that is satisfactory for everyone from avoiding project delays.
At the end of the collection requirements stage, you must have the following:
- Functional as well as non-functional requirements
- Stakeholder requirements
- Business requirements
- Support and training requirements
- Project requirements
3. Defining the Scope
At this step, you must turn your requirements into a well-detailed description of the service or product that you are trying to deliver through the project. You will then have a project scope statement that you can then refer to during your project.
While it is significant to list what is in the scope of the project, it is just as vital to note down what is out of the project scope. Any kind of additions to the scope would then have to go through the entire change control process to confirm the team is only working on things that they are supposed to work on.
With a defined scope, you get a reference idea for your project team and anyone else involved. In case there is something that is not involved in the scope, it doesn’t need to be finished by the team.
4. Making a Project Breakdown Structure
A project breakdown structure is a document that breaks down all the work which should be done in the project and then allots all the tasks to the team members. It lists the deliverables that need to be accomplished and their respective deadlines as well.
You can use project management software for this step of the process to allot and prioritize project tasks which will make it stress-free to track the entire progress of the project and avoid any unnecessary bottlenecks.
5. Validating Scope
In this step, the scope and deliverables that you have documented need to be sent to project executives and stakeholders to get the necessary approvals. Scope validation must be done before starting the project to ensure that if something goes erroneous then it is easy to find where it went wrong.
6. Controlling Scope
Project managers need to guarantee that as the project commences, it always stays within the clear scope. In case there are some things that need to change, then the right change control process should be followed.
5 Tips for a Successful Project Scope Management
- Ensure to generate a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) as it will provide a breakdown of the scope statement into smaller, more manageable parcels.
- To avoid unnecessary work and stress, avoid obscurity in your scope. Define it as plainly as possible.
- Make the process of defining scope a collaborative process to avoid misinterpretations of requirements. You can use project collaboration tools to develop effective communication between project teams.
- Ensure that the scope document is not changed during project execution to avoid any increase in scope beyond what was initially discussed.
- Finally, take your time to discuss all relevant stakeholders and define the project scope, as it cannot change once settled.