Scoping…Beginning to understand

October 29, 2009
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Project scope needs to be defined as clearly as possible so that only the things that are required are done and nothing else. No effort should be wasted in what’s not needed to be done. To be as precise, the project requirements need to be completely understood and stated as unambiguously as possible.

Sources of Scope

The top level requirements are stated in the project charter. It should contain high level project requirements and high level product description for the project. This is the basis for refining and developing detailed requirements for the project.

Developing the project charter involves the creation of a document that authorizes the project or the part of a project being initiated now. It contains the initial requirements that would meet the need and expectations of stakeholders. It is also agreed upon set of needs if there’s another agency involved. It could be a customer and the charter is the agreed upon basis of the project to be implemented by the performing organization. A project manager would need to be assigned, preferable as the charter is being developed. He should be in place prior to planning in nay case. Project sponsor, an authority external to the project authorizes the project. His own authority needs to be sufficiently high to get the project appropriately funded. Project charter making usually is a follow up on a business need getting identified and based on needs analysis and a business case being made out first.

The stakeholder register is another source that is used. It identifies the stakeholders who can guide the development of the project and product requirements. The first step in creating the stakeholder register is to identify all the stakeholders impacted by the project. Effort is to be made to document their interests, involvement and impact in influencing the project outcome. Such persons or organizations that are actively involved in the project and whose interests may either be positively or negatively impacted by the project outcome. You need to identify these stakeholders early on. You need to analyze and note their level of interest, expectations, importance and influence. The project manager will need to develop a strategy and management plan for stakeholders’ interest, of course. But these detailed pieces of information help crystallize the scope of the project very effectively.

Requirements or the defining set of scope needs of a project are arrived at by refining the top level requirements. Capturing the project and product requirements are vital. As the project progresses the progress need to be measured against these requirements. Besides the WBS, cost and schedule planning as well as quality planning are based on these.

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