Do you want to boil the entire ocean or 1 gallon at a time? Project scope management is all about understanding, agreeing and baselining what needs to be built in given time and budget to fulfil stakeholder requirements. It is concerned primarily with controlling what is and what is not in the scope. For a project manager, scope knowledge area is very important and PMI (Project Management Institute) and Prince2 both emphasizes on it.
So what is scope? Scope refers to the detailed set of deliverables or features of a project that are agreed to be built within given budget and time. These deliverables are derived from a project’s requirements which is exclusive list of stakeholders expectations. It is the decision of what work will be completed during the lifecycle of a project. Included in this is also the identification of work that will not be counted in the ongoing round of the service/product development. The documentation of the scope of the project will explain the boundaries of the project, establish the responsibilities of each member of the team and set up procedures for how work that is completed will be verified and approved.
- Ambiguous: Ambiguity in scope often leads to unnecessary work and confusion. To avoid this, the scope needs to be clearly defined and to the point.
- Incomplete: Incomplete scopes lead to schedule slips which lead to cost overrun. To avoid this, the scope needs to be complete and accurate.
- Transient: Transient scopes lead to scope creep which is the primary cause of late deliveries and potentially “never ending” projects. To avoid this, the scope document needs to be finalized and remain unaltered for the duration of the project.
- Un-collaborative: A scope that is not collaborated leads to misinterpretations in requirements and design. To avoid this, the scope document should be shared with all stakeholders.
Why project managers needs it
Scope management helps avoid the challenges that a project might face with every growing scope and unruly requirement list. Project scope defines what is or is not included in the project, and controls what gets added or removed as the project is executed. Scope management establishes control processes to address factors that may result in project change during the project life-cycle.
Without defining the project scope, the cost or time that the project will take up cannot be estimated. At times, due to the lack of communication, scopes may need change. This directly effects the cost and disturbs the schedule of the project which in turn leads to losses. Scope management is a possible mission. It does, however, require some bit of effort, time and patience. With proper scope management it is easy to specify a clear scope and to deliver the project.
The success is based on strategic management actions and utilizing suitable tools that extend human thinking and describing the scope on a detailed level.