What is Scope?
In project management, scope refers to all of the products, services, and results provided by
Having a clear and agreed definition of your project's scope and managing that scope as the project proceeds is
critical for it's success.
In project management, there are actually two types of scope you need to be familiar with...
- Product Scope
- Project Scope
Product scope is what your end customer cares about. It is all of the features and functions that
the product or service your project is delivering will provide.
Project scope is all of the work that needs to be done to provide the product or service your
project is delivering.
Now that you know what project management scope is, there are three
areas that you will need to focus on to make sure you are managing
your project's scope effectively...
- Scope Planning
- Scope Control
- Scope Verification
Project Management Scope Techniques
The purpose of scope planning is to clearly define what is included in the project. Just
as importantly, in the process of defining what's included you will also explicitly state what is excluded from
Scope planning has three steps...
Step 1: Collect Requirements
The first step in scope planning is to determine the needs and expectations of the key project stakeholders in order
to meet the project objectives. These are the requirements that your project will need to fulfill in
order for your stakeholders to consider your project a success.
Some approaches you can use to collect requirements are...
- Focus Groups
Using these approaches, you will be able to capture the requirements from the different project stakeholders that
the project will need to meet.
Step 2: Define Scope
Once you've collected the requirements, you can use them to develop your Project Scope Statement. The Project Scope Statement provides a detailed description of everything included in the project.
Some of the critical items addressed in the Project Scope Statement are...
- Product Scope Description
- Product Acceptance Criteria
- Project Deliverables
- Project Exclusions
- Project Constraints
- Project Assumptions
Once agreed with the key stakeholders, the Project Scope Statement becomes a basis for project decisions.
Step 3: Create the Work Breakdown Structure
The final step in Scope Planning is to create the work breakdown structure (WBS) for the project. A WBS is used to breakdown each project deliverable identified in the Project Scope Statement into smaller, more
manageable components. The WBS is a key project management scope tool.
For example, if you are responsible for setting up a conference for a new product your company is launching, one of
the deliverables you would need to handle would be "Venue." Venue as a deliverable is quite large, so it should be
- Identify potential venues
- Decide venue
Sound & Lighting
Tables & Chairs
If needed, each component can be broken down further just as how "Book Venue" was.
A work breakdown structure will help you estimate your project's cost, understand what skills you will need
your team to have, and determine how many people you will need to deliver the project. The WBS will also help when you
start building your schedule.
Scope control is the process of managing the scope of your project so that any changes to the
project scope are handled in a controlled way. This implies that you will need to set up a change control
It would be great if once the scope was agreed during the scope planning, that it wouldn't change. But in the real
world, unforeseen events can make a change in scope necessary. As long as changes are handled in a controlled way, it
isn't a bad thing. When changes are uncontrolled, it is known as scope creep.
A controlled change would come via a formal change request. The request would be analyzed to determine the impact to
the projects schedule, cost, and quality. The stakeholders involved in the change control process can then decide
whether they can accept the impacts to the original plan. If it is accepted, then the project manager adjusts the plans
and baselines accordingly.
Scope verification is where the project deliverables are reviewed by the customer to make sure they
have been completed according to the acceptance criteria defined during scope planning.
Your ability to effectively perform project management scope planning, control, and verification is
important for ensuring your project is successful.
You can find more articles about project scope