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What is Project Scope Management?

Project Scope Management

A well-organized project stands a better chance of succeeding and doing so on time and within budget. Project managers dream of overseeing a project with no nasty surprises, running smoothly, and making everyone happy when finished. However, to achieve this state of bliss, the project manager must identify and understand the project’s chief characteristics. Or, to put it briefly, the project’s scope.

This article explores project scope management. We will discuss its definition, importance, steps involved, why it’s needed, and valuable tips, including a project management program professionals can take to hone their skills.

What is Project Scope Management?

Project scope management is a procedure that helps managers determine and document the project’s goals, deliverables, tasks, deadlines, and budget as a part of the planning process. It’s common for large projects to require modifications along the way.

If the project’s scope is defined right at the start, it becomes considerably easier for project teams to manage and institute the required changes.

Why is Project Scope Management Important?

Keeping track of stakeholders and client expectations is one of the most daunting tasks in project management. However, project managers with a set timeline and clear scope can easily ensure that deadlines are followed and production time is efficiently used during the project’s life cycle.

Project scope management also helps avoid a few common issues, such as:

  • Failure to meet project deadlines
  • Having to change the project’s direction after it’s well underway
  • Realizing that the project’s result was less than anticipated
  • Regularly changing requirements
  • The need to revisit budget discussions

Scope management is a must for long-term project management. The process makes estimating the amount of time, labor, and funds needed to accomplish the project more manageable. Ultimately, scope is a vital component of project management since it sets parameters to accommodate the constantly changing aspects of the project’s life cycle.

Also Read: What is Project Resource Management? Everything You Need to Know

Project Scope Statement in Project Management

The project’s scope statement is also known as the scope document or statement of work. Here are the things a good project scope statement does:

  • It details all the project’s boundaries while establishing the team’s responsibilities
  • It defines all the procedures that must be followed to verify and approve the finished work
  • It provides team members with a definitive guideline for making project-related decisions

Team members and stakeholders must be as specific as possible when documenting a project’s scope to avoid scope creep. Scope creep occurs when some project parts require more effort and time than initially discussed, thanks to poor planning or miscommunication.

With effective project management, however, teams can ensure that the project is finished by the deadline, an appropriate project communication plan is created, and the resulting product aligns with the team’s and organization’s initial requirements.

The Steps Involved in Project Scope Management

Define the Project Needs

Defining the project’s needs is the initial step in establishing the project’s timeline, allocating project resources, and setting up the project goals. Only with these defined steps will you fully understand the work that needs to be done. Once the steps are done, team members can be allocated tasks and given guidance and direction to deliver the project in the assigned \time and budget.

Understand the Project Objectives

Before defining the project scope, it is essential first to establish the project’s objectives. These objectives may include creating an entirely new product, creating a new service within the company, or developing a new software application. There are often situations where several objectives could be central to the project. But whatever the case, regardless of the number of objectives, the project manager must ensure that the team produces the results according to the specified functions or features.

Define the Project Scope

The resources and production hours needed to create a product or service define the project’s scope, which usually outlines the goals that must be met to achieve satisfactory results.

The steps for defining project scope include:

  • Available resources
  • Budget
  • Goals
  • Project objectives
  • Sub-phases
  • Specific tasks
  • Schedule/Timeline

The Project Scope Management Process

Here are the steps in the project management process.

Planning Scope Management

The initial process in project scope management involves creating a scope plan document that can be referred to in later stages. The document helps the team define, manage, validate, and control the project’s scope. The document includes:

  • A detailed project scope statement
  • A breakdown of all the project requirements
  • The expected project deliverables
  • The project change control process

This document doesn’t have to be detailed if it suits the purpose. Teams and managers can also use an earlier project’s scope management plan as a reference or template.

Collecting Requirements

The next step in the process is to work out the stakeholder requirements and expectations. Project managers must document all expectations, requirements, budgets, and deliverables via interviews, surveys, and focus groups. This is a crucial step because stakeholders often have unrealistic expectations or requirements, and the project managers would be obligated to step in to find an equitable compromise or solution that’s acceptable to everyone. Investing the time to handle this issue will head off potential project delays. At the end of this stage, the project manager should have the following:

  • All business requirements
  • All stakeholder requirements
  • Functional as well as non-functional requirements
  • Any support and training requirements
  • Overall project requirements

Defining the Scope

At this step, the project manager must turn the requirements into a well-detailed description of the product or service the team is trying to deliver via the project. Once this is accomplished, there will be a project scope statement that the team can refer to throughout the project. While it is essential to list what is in the project’s scope, it’s just as important to note what lies outside it. As a result, any additions or modifications to the scope would have to go through the whole change control process to ensure the team focuses only on things they should work on rather than getting distracted by frivolous changes. With a defined scope, the manager has a reference point for the project’s team and other parties involved.

Making a Project Breakdown Structure

As the name suggests, the project breakdown structure is a document that breaks down all the work that must be done in the project and then assigns every task to the appropriate team members. The document also lists the deliverables that must be completed and their respective deadlines. Managers and teams can turn to project management software for this process step. The software makes assigning and prioritizing project tasks easier, simplifying tracking of the project’s progress and avoiding unnecessary bottlenecks.

Validating Scope

In this step, the scope and all recorded deliverables need to be sent to the project executives, management, and stakeholders to obtain the necessary approvals. Scope validation must be done before starting the project to ensure that, should something go wrong, it will be easy to find what went wrong.

Controlling Scope

Finally, project managers must ensure that, as the project begins, it always remains within the defined scope. The team should follow the proper change control if some aspects need changing.

Also Read: Best Apps for Project Management You Should Know in 2024

Helpful Tips for Project Scope Management

Here’s a handful of helpful tips to facilitate project scope management.

  • Avoid ambiguity in your scope to avoid unnecessary work and stress. Define the scope as clearly as possible.
  • Create a Work Breakdown Structure (or WBS for short), which breaks down the scope statement into smaller, more manageable parcels.
  • Ensure that the scope document is not changed during project execution. This prevents any increases in scope beyond what was initially agreed upon.
  • Make the scope-defining process collaborative to prevent misunderstandings and misinterpretations of project requirements. Managers should use project collaboration tools to facilitate effective communication between the project teams.
  • Finally, take the time to consult all the relevant stakeholders and management to define the project scope, which should remain the same once finalized.

Why Do Project Managers Need Scope Management?

We already understand that the project manager takes the lead in getting the project off the ground and completed. However, every leader needs a roadmap, a set of guidelines that show what needs to be done. Scope management provides managers with that roadmap.

Effective project scope management requires clear communication to ensure stakeholders and team members comprehend the project’s scope while agreeing on how the project goals will be achieved.

Good scope management helps the manager and the team avoid the pitfalls associated with a bloated scope and an unruly requirements list. Project scope clearly defines what is or is not to be included in the project and controls what can be added or removed during the project. Scope management establishes control mechanisms to address factors that may create changes during the project lifecycle.

Managers must define the project scope to estimate the needed cost and time to reach a successful conclusion.

A Project Scope Example

Let’s look at a fictitious project scope example using a template that incorporates the primary elements of a good project scope.

  • Need: Purrfect Toys, Inc. needs an Android/iOS app that lets users match cat toys with their pet’s activity level and personality.
  • Scope: JT’s Discount App Development will create the app for Purrfect Toys, including all appropriate algorithms and information to provide users with suitable cat toys for their pets’ needs and the functionality to buy them through the app. This includes complex data regarding cat breeds, age, activity level, and toy types.
  • Deliverables:
    • A working application with comprehensive data on what toys are appropriate for different cats.
    • A two or three-paragraph description of each type of toy
    • User profile functionality so customers can save recommendations, purchase history, and favorite products, as well as the ability to provide feedback
    • Links leading to Purrfect Toys’ site allow users to purchase toys from each description.
  • Exclusions:
  • Logos and graphics related to the company’s business are excluded unless directly needed for the application only.
  • The client’s website is outside the project’s scope; thus, Purrfect Toys must provide all links.
  • Constraints: The project must be completed within six months of signing the agreement. The budget is $340,000.
  • Assumptions: JT’s Discount App Development assumes Purrfect Toys has already designed and developed relevant logos, font choices, graphic designs, and key colors and has created any necessary web pages.

Do You Want to Learn More About Project Management?

If you’re pondering a career change into project management or want to polish up your skill set, try this 24-week online project management bootcamp. This valuable online bootcamp is aligned with PMI-PMP and IASSC-Lean Six Sigma and teaches you many relevant project management skills, like project scope management.

Glassdoor.com shows that project managers make an average of $98,433 per year. Consider this online project management course to obtain the necessary skills to deliver higher-quality projects in this competitive digital business world.

You might also like to read:

How to Measure Project Success? A 2024 Guide

Remote Project Management: How to Manage Remote Teams Effectively

What are Project Management Skills? Here are Top Skills You should Know in 2024

A Project Management Process Primer

Why Study Project Management? Top 5 Reasons

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