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Friday, May 13, 2011

Chapter 27: Managing Scope

In the previous chapter, we saw how important it is to create the Project Management Plan and also about how to create it. Let us now get into the Scope Management part of our Project Planning phase.

What is Scope?

The scope of a project consists of the project scope and the product scope. The project scope is defined as the work that must be performed to deliver the required products, services, or results with the specified functions and features. The product scope is the set of functions and features that characterize a product, service, or result to be delivered by the current project.
It is about both what is included in the project and what is not. In other words, scoping a project means drawing boundaries around it, so that everyone knows what will be done and what will not be done. The importance of managing the project scope cannot be overemphasized because it has a profound impact on the overall success of the project.

Project scope is not the same thing as the product scope. Project scope is the work required to deliver the product scope.

Is Scope Management Important?

If you feel the scope management is not important, imagine this:

Let’s say you started a project to deliver an online banking website for ABC Bank and are 6 months into development. The go live date is in 12 weeks and the customer wants to include credit card information in the website. This was not part of the initial estimates & scope.
Unfortunately, your project manager accepted this because he wanted to please the customer.
Now think what will happen to you and your team mates? You all will be neck deep in unexpected work and the next 12 weeks will be most miserable work days of your life and that is only if you manage to deliver the project to the customer. If you don't, then its only going to get worse…
If your project manager had put his foot down and said, the credit card details were not part of the initial scope & estimate and a change of this magnitude cannot be taken up in such a short notice of 12 weeks, imagine the scenario…

Now you get the idea of why scope management is important?

What is Project Scope Management

The major goal of scope management is to ensure that the required work and only the required work is included and performed in the project.

Just go back to the previous paragraph and read the example. If the project manager had a scope management document that outlined the list of tasks that will be completed as part of the project, he could use that to substantiate his argument that, such a large chunk of work cannot be taken up this late in the project execution.

The Project Scope Management will do the following:

1. Collect requirements - Define the project and product requirements and develop a plan to manage those requirements. This will help clarify what needs to be done.
2. Define scope - Develop a detailed description of the project and the product that will determine what needs to be done.
3. Create work breakdown structure (WBS) - Break down the scope into concrete, manageable components.
4. Verify scope - Formalize the acceptance of the completed project deliverables. Identify how you will verify that the project scope has been executed as planned.
5. Control scope - Determine how to monitor the status of the project and product scope and monitor and control changes to the scope.

Let us take a picture to understand this better.

Note: The above picture is a high level view. Each stage may involve an in depth analysis by the Project Manager to capture accurate information.

Let us now take a look at which process group each of these activities belong to and what the output of these activities would be.

Scope Management Process Process Group Output
Collect Requirements Planning Requirement management plan and other requirement documents
Define Scope Planning Project scope statement
Create WBS Planning WBS and scope baseline
Verify Scope Monitoring and controlling Acceptance of deliverables and change requests
Control Scope Monitoring and controlling Work performance measurements
Developing the Project Scope Management Plan

Before starting to perform the five scope management processes, you develop the scope management plan. This work is recommended to be part of the effort of developing the project management plan. This plan will work as a guide for handling the following:

• How can you define the scope? To answer this question, the scope management plan includes the following:
      o A process to prepare a detailed project scope statement based on the preliminary project scope statement.
      o A process that will enable the creation of the work breakdown structure (WBS) from the detailed project scope statement and will establish how the WBS will be maintained and approved.
• How can you verify the scope? The scope management plan answers this question by including a process that describes how the formal verification and acceptance of the completed project deliverables will be obtained.
• How can you control the scope? The scope management plan answers this question by including a process that specifies how the requests for changes to the detailed project scope statement (which we also refer to as the scope statement) will be processed.

Whether the project scope management plan is informal and high-level (without too much detail) or formal and detailed depends upon the size, complexity, and needs of the project.

The project scope management plan becomes part of the project management plan.

So, the project scope planning specifies how to define, verify, and control the project. Before you can actually define the scope, though, you need to have a very crucial item in place: stakeholder requirements.

Previous: Developing Project Management Plan

Next: Collecting Requirements

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