Scope Management

October 28, 2009

Doing the work required for completion of your project is absolutely essential for the success of your project. Similarly, if anything not required for the project is to be done, it is a wasted effort. It adds to the cost and the timeline of the project. Therefore, it is essential that what exactly needs to be done and what’s not included in the requirements be very clearly defined. Scope management is about this process.

Project Scope Management

In the scope management situation the scope refers to either a product scope and/or a project scope. A product scope refers to the details of a product, its features, and functionalities or that of a service or result. A project scope refers to work required to deliver that product, service or result.

For managing the project scope it is necessary to manage several component processes. These underlying processes will contribute to a complete scope management activity. These activities include collecting requirements, defining scope, creating WBS, verifying scope and controlling scope. These activities will have to be undertaken at least once during the lifecycle of the project.

Collecting requirements involves articulating and documenting the requirements. Stakeholders will have to be involved and eliciting requirements would be a vital requirement. This is the phase that will determine what exactly needs to be done and what need not be undertaken. Defining the scope involves detailing the requirements. The work breakdown structure or the WBS defines more detailed steps/tasks to be undertaken to achieve each of the requirements that were developed earlier.

Verifying scope is essential to make sure the requirement capture the necessary ones of the project and/or the product and there are no unrealistic needs stated. The requirements can change. There are several ways additional requirements can creep into the project scope slowly unless controlled properly. It may be due to some need that was not understood clearly and extra work is indicated later. It is also possible that an entirely new requirement has come up. The customer may simply demand a new feature. Changed market conditions necessitates the an entirely new feature or implementing of an existing feature in a completely new way. Whatever it is, it is practical to realize that some changes will take place. What is required is a control over the changes so that your project does not run away in terms of cost and time budget.

A project scope statement, the WBS and a WBS dictionary define the project scope baseline. The scope management and the control plan refer to this baseline in an on-going manner.

The Processes

There is obviously some planning required for carrying out the necessary activities of the scope management plan. This planning is part of the project management plan development. The scope management plan generated out of this activity would guide the scope definition, documentation, verification, management and control. The actual documentation produced is guided by the standards prevalent in the organization as well as the needs of the project. These will determine how detailed the documentation will be and how formal or informal they are going to be.

Project requirements use inputs like project charter and stakeholder register. What is generated out of the exercise are requirements documentation and their management plan as well as a requirements traceability matrix. The tools and techniques you use with the inputs to generate these documents include interviews, focused groups, facilitated workshops, group creativity and decision making techniques, questionnaires and surveys as well as observations and development of a prototype. Development of a prototype may be called for to study not only feasibility but also to crystallize ideas about project scope.

Defining scope uses expert judgment, product analysis. Alternatives identification and facilitated workshops to generate project scope and updates(as the project progresses) from the project charter, requirements document and organization’s process assets. These same inputs are used and decomposed to the required depth to arrive at a WBS, related dictionary, scope baseline and updates. Inspect closely enough for, scope verification, the management plan, requirements, traceability and validated deliverables to generate verified deliverables, change requests and document updates.

As already mentioned scope control is a vital activity and the variance analysis on the project management plan, performance reports, requirements and the traceability as well as the process assets should be able to give you the outputs required. The outputs being work performance measurements, process asset updates, change requests, project management plan updates and document updates.

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3 Responses to Scope Management

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