Scope Statement

November 2, 2009
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The project scope statement needs to describe in detail the deliverables. The work required to create those deliverables are also to be included. The scope statement can also include specific exclusions, work that need not be done.

Scope Statement

The deliverables definitions as well as the exclusions help manage the expectations of the stakeholders. For the project team it is the basis of detailed planning. The team also checks the statement during on-going work. Change orders arising during the project lifecycle can be checked against this statement to decide if the change requested is within the scope or fall outside it. The project team’s ability to control scope is largely dependent on how well defined the work to be carried out is and what are exclusions.

Typically the scope statement will include project scope description, project acceptance criteria, project deliverables and exclusions as well as project constraints and project assumptions. Project documents that get updated due to this exercise of creating the scope document include the stakeholder register, the requirements documents and the requirements traceability matrix.

Product scope document details the characteristics of the product, service or result to be delivered through the project. These are elaborations of the descriptions in the project charter and the requirements documents. This is further pinned down by defining the project acceptance criteria. This defines the exact boundaries of expectation of the product, service or result as is expected to be delivered.

Project deliverable must define concrete items to be delivered at the end of the project. Intermediate deliverables also could be defined. Besides the deliverables defined as a result of the project, service or results to be delivered this part of the documentation defines project management reports to be delivered as well as any other documents to be delivered. The detail to which deliverables are described basically is governed by the organizations traditions.

Project exclusion, when known can define the boundaries of the project scope very well. What is out of scope, stated clearly, helps focus the project team not to waste efforts on anything that does not contribute to project outcome. It also helps keep stakeholder expectations at realistic levels.

Project constraints is another vital dimension of defining the project scope. Constraints such as a pre-defined budget to a time constraint defined by the customer ( which may be driven by his need for meeting a time-to-market) or some such schedule milestones need to be known up front. It will help work planning when these are clearly articulated. When the project is being executed under a contract there can be several contractual obligations which are constraints to be religiously met. Depending on the organizational tradition these constraints may be part of the project scope document or listed as a separate log.

Project assumptions also are part of the scope definition as these assumptions define what exactly was considered to determine the scope. The assumptions are listed, as well as the impact if the assumptions turn out to be false. Project teams not only identify, validate and document assumptions at the beginning of the project, they need to look at the validity and applicability of the assumptions right through the project lifetime. Once again, these details may be part of the scope document or listed in an annexure.

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