Scope Baseline

November 5, 2009

Scope baseline is a part of the project management plan and acts as the reference point through the project life. It has several components. These include project scope document, the WBS itself and the WBS dictionary.

Scope Baseline Document

The project scope document describes the product scope descriptions, project deliverables and acceptance criteria. The WBS is a very detailed description of the complete set of activities that are required in the project. It defines each deliverable and describes how each of these are decomposed onto work packages. The work packages and their interrelationships with higher level deliverables define the exact scope of the project. Exact activities to be carried out as well as any exclusion indicated in the scope document as well as the acceptance criteria specified there describes the project quite accurately. This is as understood at the beginning and acts as the baseline.

As the project progresses, the project progress monitoring sessions may indicate changes ion the baseline document and the project scope. Documented change requests and approved change orders can take care of such changes. Scope management thus remains under control. How effective that control would be depends on the baseline document largely. The scope document and the WBS are crucial data to define this baseline reference. The WBS includes the so called 100% of all work. Work is defined as activities that lead to an outcome. The action per se is not important. The WBS elements are mutually exclusive too. Thus it is nearly as complete a description of the project as possible.

The WBS dictionary has details of work and technical documentation of each WBS element. The dictionary lists and defines the WBS elements. As the WBS evolves, the dictionary will need items added to it to clarify any new elements or terms introduced.

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5 Responses to Scope Baseline

  1. Shenin on April 22, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    If I am wrong, please correct me – Project Scope Statement is a part of Scope Baseline which in turn is a part of Project Management Plan.
    Changes in Project Scope Statement make changes to the baseline as well, correct?

    • Puneet Kuthiala, PMP on May 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm


    • Puneet Kuthiala, PMP on May 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm

      Yes only if the scope is approved :)

    • ansar on June 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      there should not be ANY changes to the scope baseline. this is an approved and agreed upon document. changes are made to the scope if there is scope change or scope creep. but the scope baseline is the original plan of the PM and sponsor. this must be kept as is and any variance from it as the project progresses is weighed against the scope baseline to measure the quantum of variance. i think also that the scope baseline is PART of the scope statement and NOT the other way around.

      • ansar on June 10, 2012 at 11:50 am

        my apologies sirs, the second part of my answer was wrong. the scpe base line is MADE UP of the scope document, WBS and WBS dictionary. once again my apologies.

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