Before starting any project, knowing what to do and what to expect as an outcome is necessary. It will both ease the pressure on the employees and satisfy the clients and stakeholders.
So nearly all the projects of the industry start with a project scope- where all the deliverables and desired outcomes expected can be listed and documented beforehand. In the long run, it helps to minimize any confusion regarding what to do and what not, and the team can prepare all the resources it is going to need for the successful completion of the project.
What is Project Scope Management?
In short, project scope management is a process of defining and enlisting all the scope a particular project will have in terms of features or deliverables of the product or service.
From the project scope management definition, we can see that it is the first but important step of a project in any industry. The main task of this is to give details of the product or service as an outcome and allocate works to the employees to meet those goals. The project manager and supervisor have to overview the process and outcome of this step.
It has primarily three parts:
It is about outlining the deliverables. What the market needs, and what the stakeholders and clients demand from the project- those are justified and collected in this part.
It is about fine-tuning the structure of deliverables. The company calculates the probable budget, time, and resources they can afford to spend on this project. Then they tally what part and how much of the outline’s deliverable can be achieved. If the market demand or client’s expectation does not fit into this, the deadline or budget is extended.
When the company, team members, and the clients agree on the scope of the project, this whole step is closed and the actual work of the project begins.
The project scope management overview has 3 steps:
1. Define needs:
This portion is about performing market research and then determining the primary parameters of the project that includes-
• Goals and
The objective part is all about the deliverables. Whether the deliverable is a product or service, what new parts or features will the team include, how it can outperform other similar products or services available in the market etc.
3. Define scope:
It is now time to dive deeper and fix all the details of the overall project. The company calculates the total resources and work needed for the project and distributes them over the timeline. This project time management helps to allocate tasks to different people and with a deadline, so the overall project deadline can remain the same. It also outlines the goals with all the details for future reference.
Project scope management is a bit long as a process. But it clarifies the probable confusion and helps to sort out beforehand any problem that can occur during the project process.
What is a Project Scope Statement?
The project scope statement is also known as the statement of work or terms of reference. The project manager manages this component of the project scope. The company stated the time and budget for the project explicitly here.
This statement mainly is a document that contains details of the project scope like the boundary of the project, the responsibilities the company and team members have regarding this project, and also the procedures to follow throughout the timeline.
Project scope statement definition says it has these following components:
› Business case:
It is a brief study of the market, economic condition, and target audience. It specifies why this project is required, how it will appeal to the target audience, and what should be the focus of this deliverable.
› Product description or deliverable list:
It is the details of the deliverable along with all the features, components, and benefits. If the deliverable is a product, this part is known as the product description. It is an overview of the project.
› Acceptance criteria or success criteria:
It is a list of the key components of the deliverable. These are highly valued and play an integral role to satisfy the target audience. The company makes it a high priority to meet all these criteria with standard quality in the project. Only after that, the project becomes successful.
› Project exclusion:
It is the list of what the project will not include. This list is especially important to be on the same page as the investors avoid conflicts in the future.
It is the boundaries of the project. It can be in terms of resources, time, budget, or work power. It specifies which parameter cannot be adjusted in the project anyhow.
It is the list of factors that are not fully proven or taken care of, but the team assumes them for the ease of the process during the project.
A model project scope statement example will have all these components in the documentation phase.
What are the processes in Project Scope Management?
Industries need to follow a certain pattern to complete project scope management. This guideline has six project scope management steps that are common for every industry but equally beneficial for all types of projects.
The steps of the project scope management process are:
1. Planning scope:
In the first step, the focus is to ideate the project. No detailing of the documents is required here. Team member only gives the outline of the project. Even they can customize and reuse a framework of any previous project planning in this step too.
In this stage, the company decides-
• How to define scope,
• How they will manage it,
• How they can validate it, and
• How to control it.
In the brief planning, the team includes the following points-
• Project statement: Here the team documents the project statement that we have discussed before.
• Breakdown required for the project: It is a brief breakdown of the steps of how to complete the project. As the team fixes no details in this stage, only the rough steps and milestones are there.
• Expected deliverables: The company enlists all the deliverables that the stakeholders want from this project. But only the primary outlines are there.
• Change in control process: It is about a precautionary measure where they discuss if a situation is to come in the future when the scope is to be changed in the project, then how the company will control it.
2. Collect requirement:
It is an in-depth documentation of the requirements of the project. The team creates this part carefully, so there is no room for any confusion or error.
A dedicated focus group creates the list-
• By interviewing users about their experience and requirements,
• Surveying the target market,
• Creating a prototype of the deliverable for an accurate result.
There are several types of requirement that a company have to take care of in this section-
• The functional and non-functional requirement,
• Stakeholder requirement,
• Business requirement,
• Support requirement,
• Training requirement,
• Project requirement.
3. Defining scope:
Defining the scope involved detailed documentation. Here the team enlists the main parts of the project scope with proper details.
In the product description (if the deliverable is a product), the reference point of the project is there. The team also pens down a timeline of which tasks to do by which time.
The scope definition involves:
• The objective of the project,
• Goals of the project,
• Sub-phases of them,
• Tasks of the sub-phases,
• Estimated budget, and
• Schedule of work.
4. Work breakdown structure:
It is popularly known as WBS. The company breaks down the total procedure into small manageable parts and assigns smaller tasks to the employees. This step is to prioritize the most necessary work of the projects.
It also ensures that the company distributes the work, and there will not be any bottleneck of tasks at the last moment. Here, they use software and tools to standardize work and automate forms, emails, and workflows.
5. Validate scope:
The company performs the above four parts, and the validation stage is about checking and reviewing the scope by the customers and stakeholders.
The customers, managers, and stakeholders review the scope and give suggestions, feedback. It ensures that both they and the company are on the same page, in terms of the expectation of the project.
After both the parties reach an agreement, they sign off for the deliverables.
6. Control scope:
It is the last of the project scope management process groups. It is mainly about monitoring the status of the project.
Sometimes the scope changes due to some unavoidable circumstances; so this step also clarifies that if that kind of situation occurs, who will adjust the scope and how.
Why is Project Scope Management important?
You must have heard about the old saying, “Morning shows the day.” In the same way, the project scope management shows how the entire project will go- whether it will be successful, completed in time, or there will be any miscommunication or the discipline will be disrupted.
Here are the top benefits of project scope management:
It ensures there is no gap in communication among each of the team members, the company management, and the stakeholder. All of them can know what and how the project is going to turn out. So there will be no room for miscommunication and dissatisfaction later.
› Avoid challenges:
The company can avoid any sudden challenges like the unavailability of an employee or shortage of resources like this. As the team has all the plans beforehand, they can know what type of problems can be there in the future and how to avoid them or take the necessary precautions.
As the company estimates the budget with all the tasks and sub-phases in mind with all the resources required, the amount will be closer to the actual money spent at the end of the project. It is necessary for the economic balance of the company.
As each of the small tasks is taken into consideration while developing the timeline, the company knows how much time they have to devote for a particular project on day 1.
The collaboration of employees, even outsourcing of work becomes easy for the work breakdown structure.
As the scope statement clearly states all the necessary points along with the distractions, there is no vagueness or ambiguity for any topic.
› Project direction:
The clients cannot pivot the direction of the project in the midway in this case, which makes the work simpler and one-way.
› Incomplete definition:
There is no incomplete definition or unruly requirement that can cause conflict during the project later on.
The scope is signed and validated till the end of the project, so there is no rush of changing the plan when a sudden problem arrives.
› Control mechanism:
They sort out the control mechanisms of different factors beforehand.
As you can see, the project scope management importance is vast.
Project Scope Management Example
Project scope management is the stepping stone of all projects. So no matter what your industry is or what type of project you are going to do, you need it anyway.
To understand this, let’s assume you are going to decorate a Christmas tree for your home. You are busy and have only a few hours. So your time is your limitation.
Then you find out whether you need to buy a Christmas tree or you have one from the previous year. Then you make a list of items you wish to decorate your tree with and check if the estimated amount fits your budget. Then you check with other family members whether they want to add some other items or gifts, and also decide which shop will be the best to buy these from. Then you allot some purchasing to a family member and do the rest on your own. You may also get another family member to decorate the tree for you.
Now, if you are not sure about the scope of the Christmas tree from the very beginning, it may be rushed, the budget may escalate, or you may forget the Santa.
From this simple project scope example, you can understand how important this step is.
How Project Management Software is helpful to Project Scope Management?
There is a long project management software list for you to choose from. These can automate the tasks for you, help you create a template for all your projects, and even set up the timeline. From the work breakdown structure to divide task, to use the Gantt chart to track progress, these project management tools can also help you communicate with the clients or your team members effectively. Though you can always use offline software, the online software or SAAS is more preferred as they are mobile and can sync all the team members at once, even if they are in a different location.
The project scope management process can take up a lot of time, and effort for you initially, true. But in the end, it will be worth it to invest your patience for having a smooth and stress-free completion of the project.
Project scope management’s importance is endless as it can bring timely completion, cost-effectiveness, and customer satisfaction for your project with a definite amount of resources. If you did not use project scope management for your projects until now, it is high time you should start to implement it. And if you were already familiar with the term but did not know how to do that, hope this will give you a clearer idea of where to start.