Project scope is the parameter of the project. It defines what are the deliverables, requirements and expectations for the project and provides a baseline to exclude unrelated works. The project manager’s job is to ensure all necessary works for the project success are included. And this process is referring to as the project scope management. Project scope management involves six processes, which are planning scope management, collecting requirements, defining scope, creating WBS, validating scope and controlling scope. These six interrelated steps provide an agreement between the stakeholders and project team to clarify expectation and requirements. The six processes also allow the team to understand how and what they should do in order to deliver the project within the deadline and without exceeding limited resources. 1. Planning scope management: This process answers the question “how will the team manage and maintain the scope” and “how to prepare required documents”. The team will review the project description from the project charter and project management plan to develop scope management plan and requirements management plan.
The scope management plan defines how to prepare, maintain and control all management documents such as project scope statement, WBS and change requests. This step set the foundation for the scope management, as the team and manager will choose the most efficient way in controlling the process. 2. Collecting requirements: After defining the format of scope management, the team will need to meet with stakeholders as early as possible to determine what are the deliverables. There are many ways in collecting requirements such as interviewing stakeholders, hosting community meeting or workshop, handing out survey or questionnaires. This is a critical step because the more defined the deliverables are, the smaller the chance in changing deliverables. The cost of changing the scope or deliverables is higher at the later phase of the project. 3. Defining scope: The step following defining the format and knowing the requirements is to develop a detail plan of what work is required to deliver the project.
The team will review the project charter and other related documents to deliver a project scope statement. The project scope statement will provides information such as the product description, detail deliverables and acceptance criteria. This step provides a very clear goal and expectation for the team to know exactly what and how is the project is going to be delivered. 4. Creating WBS: Work breakdown structure divides the required work into smaller units based on the complexity of the project. It provides a blueprint of how the work should be done. Along with the WBS is the WBS dictionary. WBS dictionary provides a detail explanation of each WBS item. It tells the team which organization is responsible, what is the schedule, what are the required resources and what is the estimated cost of the project. WBS defines the exact steps needed to complete the project and further strengthen the baseline of the project to know what work should and should not be included in the project. 5. Validating scope: The project will not be completed without the approval from the stakeholder. After all these works of creating a comprehensive plan and completed deliverables, the team will seek approval from the stakeholder.
All documents produced during the project, such as project management plan, scope baseline, change requests, work performance information etc. become essential in auditing the deliverable. If the stakeholder is not satisfied with the deliverables, they can call a change request and follow the formal change request procedure to repair defect. 6. Controlling scope: The controlling scope process is to ensure the project is maintaining the baseline and any change of scope are thoroughly evaluated. This step is critical in avoiding scope creep that may cause project failure. Change during the process is inevitable, however, without proper change control, an uncontrolled expansion of the scope (requesting additional deliverables, expending the scope baseline etc.) can lead to increase costs, delay project completion, harm the company reputation or project failure. An important input for every project scope management process is expert judgment.
It is the project manager’s job to analyze the information and oversee the whole process of the project to ensure all details are covered. At the same time, it is the whole team’s job to use their judgment, apply technical skills and problem-solving skills to ensure smooth flow of the project. On top of their expert skill, project scope management serve as a backbone for the project structure to allow the team to complete the project accordingly with clear guidelines. Overlook any steps will increase the risk of missing an important requirements or cause complication in communication, expectation or workflow. Using the project scope management process discuss earlier will help the team successfully manage the scope and increase the chance of project success.