What is the Power of Carefully Constructed Project Scope?
Project scope is the part of project planning. The scope involves determining and documenting specific project goals, tasks, deliverables, costs and set deadlines.
A scope statement is a documentation form of project scope that explains the boundaries of the project, set responsibilities for every team member and establish procedures for how the completed work will be approved. Why is it important in project management?
The advantages of project scope
There are real advantages the project scope statement provides to any company undertaking a new initiative. Here they are:
- Formulates what the project entails to make all stakeholders understand what is involved.
- Assists team members to focus on common objectives.
- Provides a smart product roadmap for managers that helps to schedule work, assign tasks and set the budget.
- Helps to avoid expanding beyond the established vision, especially for the complex projects.
The project scope provides a strong foundation for managing a project as it moves forward. It helps ensure that resources are not wasted on out-of-scope elements.
Be careful with the difference between product scope and project scope:
- Product scope is identified as the features that characterize a product/service.
- Project scope is the work that must be done to deliver a product/service according to the product’s scope (required features and functionality).
How do we define the project scope?
The project scope is framed by the work and resources that go into the creation of any product or service. It outlines the project objectives and goals that need to be achieved to get the desired result.
Project managers’ goal is to clearly understand how to define the scope. The following steps help to define it:
- Project objectives
- Project goals
After establishing these steps, it’s important to clarify all the limitations or project parameters and identify aspects that are not to be included. It will help to make the project scope clear to the senior management, all stakeholders, and the team.
The project scope is documented in an integral part of any project plan – a scope statement. The document is used as the basis for project decisions down the line. It clearly highlights all the work required, everything else is out of the scope.
Why is it important to write a project scope statement?
A statement should include all the required information for producing the project deliverables.
The project team will remain focused on tasks if they receive a well-written project scope statement that is more detailed than a statement of work.
The project scope statement provides the team leader with guidelines for making right decisions about change requests. Changes are natural for projects, that’s why the better the project has been scoped at the very beginning, the better team members will be able to manage changes.
All the tasks and objectives that are not listed in the statement should be considered out of the scope.
A well-written scope statement means a critical part of effective project management. The project scope should be determined regardless of what PM methodology is used.
Stakeholders usually have an access to the document to have the opportunity to review the scope statement, revise it if necessary and approve.
The impact of a poorly constructed project scope can be really destructive, and the lack of clarity around the scope may be the reason for the project failure.
A vague document will leave many issues open to debate and uninformed calls, influencing the features, timing and the costs.
Documenting a project’s scope, stakeholders and managers should be rather specific to avoid scope creep. It’s the situation when one or more parts of a project end up requiring more work, time or effort because of miscommunication or poor planning.
Effective scope management requires good communication that will ensure that everyone in the team understands the project scope and agrees upon exactly how the project’s goals will be successfully met.
Understanding and being able to define project scope will give project managers a focus and sense of purpose when executing the project. Working with scope statement will provide the foundations for risk management and managing changes.