What is a Project Scope? Quick Guide with a 6-Step Process

Last updated on January 5th, 2023

Almost all project managers dream of impeccable execution of all tasks and activities involved in their projects. They try to manage and control the aspects like objectives, budgets, and timelines at all stages of the project management. However, no matter how efficient you are, there are always hurdles and issues that occur while you move ahead with your team members to achieve the set targets. 

In fact, scope creep affects almost 52% of projects worldwide. Therefore improper planning for your project may result in budget deficiency, unmet deadlines, and even project failure. According to a study by Harvard Business Review,  every one out of six projects faces cost and schedule overruns of 200% and 70% respectively. That is why it becomes crucial for your business to give utmost importance to project scope management to accomplish your desired project goals successfully.

What is Project Scope?

Project scope can be defined as a detailed outline comprising all major aspects like tasks, deliverables, deadlines, budgets, etc to accomplish your project goals and minimize the chances of project creep.

The project scope helps the project managers to keep their focus on the desired tasks and activities for better productivity and output maximization. It also helps in effective decision-making that results in higher efficiency. Aspects like assumptions, constraints, and functions are also involved in well-devised project scope to keep the project on the right track.

What is Project Scope Management? Plus 7 Reasons Why Project Scope Management is Important

Project scope management is the process in which the project scope is first identified and then mapped. It includes all the necessary information and data related to the project for better work efficiency and meeting the set targets.

Project scope management is very important for your project’s success due to the following reasons.

  1. It helps the project manager in managing and meet the expectations of all stakeholders and clients involved in the project.
  2. The project deadlines can be met throughout the project life cycle easily through a well-developed project scope.
  3. The project scope also assists the coordinators and supervisors in incorporating the constantly changing parameters and requirements throughout the project journey.
  4. It also helps to pivot the project direction when you are midway.
  5. Project scope management is also important for realizing and understanding the unexpected results and repercussions when the final outcome arrives.
  6. It also proves to be pivotal for sticking to the already discussed project budget.
  7. Moreover, project scope also avoids the possibility of failure to meet the already set deadlines. It keeps the team members vibrant and vigilant to make sure that every step and process involved in the project remains efficient.

What is a Scope Statement?

A scope statement also known as the statement of work or scope document gives all the team members a set of guidelines to be followed throughout the project activities. It defines what needs to be done and who will hold a specific responsibility during each stage of the project.

All the procedures and parameters that are meant to be followed for the desired final result are also given in the scope statement. Without the scope statement, there is a high chance that discussed tasks and processes may take more time and budget than expected resulting in scope creep. Ultimately, an effective project management setup is ensured through the statement of work to get the final result as per the initial already established parameters.

6 Stage Process of Project Scope Management

In order to define the project scope currently and efficiently, 6 stages of the project scope management are given as follows.

1. Plan Scope Management

The very first in the process can be the development of a scope plan document or draft that may be set as a benchmark for later stages. In this way, you will be able to not only define your project scope effectively but also manage, control, and validate it effectively.

This document may include a detailed statement regarding the project scope, all project requirements in a defined order, desired deliverables, and the project’s change control process. If you are having trouble while drafting this document at this stage, you can use any previous project’s scope plan document as a reference. The document is not necessarily meant to be very comprehensive. As long as it serves its purpose, it is good to go with. 

2. Collect the Requirements of the Project

The next step is collecting and receiving all the expectations and requirements of relevant stakeholders, especially clients. You can draft these requirements into a document that may also include aspects like budget, and deliverables. You can collect the expectations and requirements through activities like surveys, interviews, and also with the help of focus groups, etc.

If the requirements of the project put forth by the stakeholders seem unrealistic, it is the job of the project manager to explain what the most effective and possible deliverables of the project will be. Everyone needs to be on the same page before you proceed ahead in order to minimize the possibility of project delays. 

For this purpose, the project manager can draft a compelling slide presentation including appealing visuals, and expected deliverables with effective yet acceptable arguments and suggestions. In order to avoid the time consumed in creating appealing slides from scratch, you can download premade presentation templates for this purpose. If you are a PowerPoint user then you are in luck as our website Free PowerPoint Templates offers thousands of premade PowerPoint Templates covering almost all aspects related to project management and business activities. Just download any template of your desire with a simple click, edit it a bit as per your requirements and you will be good to go.

After collecting the requirements, you can further divide them into functional, non-functional, stakeholder, business, support, project and training requirements, etc.

3. Define your project’s scope

After the collection of all desired requirements, it is time to further convert those requirements into a detailed description of the desired product or service that will be delivered upon the successful completion of the project. This will give you a reference project scope statement to follow throughout the project duration.

You need to mention all the aspects that are involved in the project as well as all the factors that are not part of the project. This will help your team members to remain on the right track and spend their energies and efforts on only those tasks that actually matter. 

4. Make a breakdown structure for your project

At this stage, you further divide your tasks into more actionable steps and assign specific activities to certain yet relevant team members. You also define what needs to be delivered at this stage by keeping in mind the expected date of delivery. This will help you to track the progress of your project till the end. You will be able to avoid the non-desired bottlenecks and issues in this manner.

5. Scope Validation

The process of collecting the requirements, defining the desired deliverables, and setting an expected date of delivery is completed so far. Now, you need to send the already drafted scope of the project along with defined requirements and set deliverables to relevant stakeholders especially clients for final approval. It is recommended that you don’t start anything before the stakeholders approve the entire project’s scope to avoid further confusion and conflicts.

6. Control your project scope

In order to control the project scope, the project managers should ensure that everything that goes on remains within the boundaries set by the already discussed and approved scope. If there is a need to make some changes during the project’s progress, an effective change control process must be available to be followed and executed. In this way, the final output will be achieved as per the pre-set requirements of the stakeholders of the project.

5 Actionable Tips for Efficient Project Scope Management

Now that we have learned what a project scope is, and what is project scope management, we are ready to use it in our favor. Here are some actionable tips that you can follow to make your project scope more productive and efficient.

  • Create a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to further divide the scope statement into smaller yet more achievable segments.
  • Make your project scope as concise and straightforward as possible. This will eradicate the possibility of any mishaps and issues during the progress of the project.
  • Make sure that the communication between all team members is effective. In this way, the misinterpretation of the deliverables and requirements will be avoided efficiently.
  • Do not later scope the document during the project’s progress. This will help you in avoiding any abnormality in the project’s end results.
  • In the end, consult and discuss all the aspects with the relevant stakeholders thoroughly. You need to make sure that the opinions and requirements of every stakeholder are incorporated into the project scope so that the project can be executed easily without any delays and interruptions.

Final Words

Having an effective project scope allows the project managers and teams to streamline their entire project tasks and activities in an actionable manner. It also helps in collecting the desired requirements from stakeholders, defining the expected deliverables, and setting dates of deliveries that can be followed by all team members.

Project scope allows project managers to remain on the right track during their operational and managerial activities by making them aware of the budget constraints of the project time. It acts as a benchmark to be followed and consulted with during conflicts, issues, and problems when they occur. The project scope also proves to be pivotal in avoiding project creep that may result in the failure of the overall project. Hence, the importance of project scope can not be ignored if you want to deliver successful project outputs whether they are products or services.

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