The PMI Training Series: Understanding Project Scope Management


The PMI Training Series: Understanding Project Scope Management

In terms of project management, the SCOPE details all the deliverables (services, products, and results) which are within the product’s scope, as well as the work that needs to be done to deliver said deliverables.

The techniques used in project scope management allow project supervisors and managers to set aside the necessary quantity of effort-related resources required to complete a project. The primary concern here is having control of what is part of the project’s scope, and what isn’t.

For a project manager to be truly successful, they should have adequate scope knowledge; as emphasized by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Defining Project Scope

The scope of a project contains all the features and deliverables related to a certain project. These deliverables are taken from the requirements of the project.

According to PMBOK®, Project Scope is, “The work that needs to be accomplished to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions.” This entails the practical side of delivering a product, including all the internal processes that are to be performed, in order to ensure timely delivery, as per the initial requirements.

Practical Project Scope Management Example

If you are looking to pursue project management, the following example will help you gain a better understanding of the concept.

Say, you are the project manager within a custom automobile design company. A client consults you with specifications of a car they need designed. They provide you with the size, fabrication specifics such as angular fenders, a low roof, and scoops in the hood. They also provide some interior requirements, such as number of seats, location of various buttons and dials etc. Lastly, they provide you with a date by which they require the finished product.

Since the project is seemingly within your capabilities, you take on the project, and immediately start work. You make the initial plan, create a detailed schedule, and estimate the total budget of the entire project, taking into account all the points of expense.

After having made the plan and scheduled the processes, you move to actually designing the vehicle. You will need fabricators and exterior designers, who you bring in to commence work according to the given specification. Subsequently, you complete the project within the given time and call in the client to show them the final product, so that they can confirm that the vehicle is exactly how they wanted, with all the specifications having been followed. Finally, you hand over the completed vehicle to the client, collect the payment as agreed, and close the project.

As you can see, there are two distinct parts of the example of the above example. Firstly, the client came to you with a project and gave all the specifications (characteristics). In this example, the car is the product, and the specifications as required, are the scope. Together, they form the Product Scope. Next is the practical bit, which is constructing the vehicle as per the time and budget available, according to the project management plan you created right before the workers start their processes. Lastly, you deliver the finished product to the client, and all the processes that went into the making of the car, are the Project Scope.

Importance of Defining the Project Scope

For the project manager, defining the project scope is vital towards the end result-based success of the project, as it explains exactly what the product itself looks like. If the scope is not defined properly, it could result in the budget potentially being surpassed, additional work required on an otherwise completed part of the product, delays in the schedule due to the previous point, and a general lack of motivation and morale.  

Project Scope Management Processes

Following are the major processes performed during project scope management:

Initiation: This is the process of bringing together the required personnel, and committing them to the project at hand, as well as the very next stage of the project.

Scope Planning: This process entails creating a scope statement, which will form the foundation of the project-related decisions in the future.

Scope Definition: This process divides the primary deliverables of the project further, into smaller components, making them more manageable.

Scope Verification: This process finalizes the project scope acceptance, by all the involved individuals, including the workers and project manager.

Scope Change Control: This process controls any and all changes to be made to the project outline, or the project itself.

Tips for Effective Project Scope Management

While performing project scope management, project managers often encounter issues, which threaten to derail one or more of the integral processes. To ensure smooth sailing throughout the management and completion parts, following are some effective project scope management tips.

  • Make sure there is no ambiguity while defining the scope, since ambiguity can result in unnecessary confusion and more work than initially required. All aspects of the scope should be clearly defined and direct.
  • Always make sure the definition is complete, since the opposite results in schedule delays, as well as overruns in cost. To keep this from happening, make the scope accurate and complete.
  • If the project involves more than one person, make sure that all the individuals involved collaborate towards the scope. A non-collaborative scope will cause misconceptions and mistakes while understanding the requirements.

PMI training can assist project management candidates and trainees gain the requisite knowledge of processes and best practices to ensure smooth sailing throughout the entirety of the project, from conception to final delivery.

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