Scope Management: managing the project scope

scope-management eng

The Scope Management of a project is the set of processes necessary to ensure that the scope of a project is precisely defined and mapped.

Project scope management techniques enable project managers to assign the right amount of work required in order to successfully complete a project, particularly by controlling what is and what is not part of the project scope.

The management of the project scope is what ensures that the project includes all the relevant work in order to achieve the project goals.

Plan the Scope Management process

The process explains how to define, manage, validate and control the scope of the project.

You could even use the project management plan of another project as a starting point, because the Scope Management processes do not vary dramatically once the organization has opted for a successful method of working.

Scope management process planning includes:

  • preparing a detailed project declaration
  • creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
  • maintaining the WBS
  • obtaining formal acceptance of the project results
  • managing any changes in the project scope

Scope Management: Collecting the project requirements

At this stage, it is necessary to gather what are the needs of the stakeholders with the intent of achieving the project goals.

In this process, managers use different techniques and tools in order to gather the requirements.

If this process is executed in a complete and correct manner, it can greatly reduce the possibility of unpleasant surprises as the project progresses towards completion.

scope management

In this phase, it is therefore necessary to understand what the stakeholders want from the project.

Once found out, requirements must be documented and stakeholder expectations must be properly managed.

This is an important step, since it may happen that what is required is not realistic or achievable due to other project constraints, such as cost.

The output of the work of gathering requirements is a documented set of requirements.

Scope Management: Defining the project scope

Here the requirements and the needs are transformed into a detailed description of the product or service that the project will create.

The output will be a declaration of the scope of the project that can be referred throughout the entire project life cycle.

The document will also include a list of what is in scope and what is out of scope.

The scope clearly indicates what the project is supposed to achieve and what not.

Scope Management: Creating the Work Breakdown Structure

This process transforms the list of requirements into a structured view of what needs to be done.

The main work here is the subdivision of large tasks into smaller and more manageable blocks, called work packages.

The result of this process is the so-called Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).

The WBS is an important element of the scope management process and the PMI places great emphasis on this aspect.

Many project managers often skip this step leading to inaccurate plans.

The resulting WBS should provide a complete list of all the work packages required to complete the project successfully.

Scope Management: Validating the project scope

This process focuses primarily on the acceptance of the project by the client.

In simple terms, it is when the client of the project formally accepts all the results of the project.

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This process occurs at the end of each phase.

It is therefore important to know who will approve a deliverable and what criteria will be used to evaluate the success of the result.

Scope Management: Checking the project scope

This process involves the evaluation of additional requirements by the client or the proactive observation of the project’s scope by the project manager.

Managers measure the work product with respect to the forecast in order to ensure that the project remains on track, helping to prevent any unnecessary modifications.

This phase therefore involves monitoring the status of the project and managing any changes to the scope.

Some pitfalls of Scope Management

The problems that may arise during the definition and documentation of the project scope are:

Ambiguity: ambiguity often leads to unnecessary work and confusion. To avoid this, the scope must be clearly defined, both by the stakeholders as well as by the team, without being misinterpreted;

Incomplete definition: incomplete areas lead to planned deadlines which almost certainly lead to cost overruns. To avoid this, the scope must be complete, accurate and detailed;

Transitoriness: this is the main cause of late deliveries and “endless” projects. To avoid this, the scope document must be finalized and remain as long as possible for the duration of the project;

Non-collaborative scope: an area not managed in a collaborative way causes incorrect interpretations in terms of requirements and planning. To avoid this, the document should be shared with all stakeholders at each stage of the scope definition process.

Without Scope Management, the cost or time that the project will take to achieve its goal can not be estimated.

Scope Management is not difficult to implement; however, it requires effort, time and patience.

But it is worth investing it: with a proper management of the project scope, it is possible to have clear guidelines and deliver the project with minimum overruns.

Have you ever dealt with the Scope Management of a project? How was your experience and what are your opinions about it? Tell them below!

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