In this article…
What is project scope management?
Project scope management is the practice of enforcing the boundaries, expectations, and success criteria you established in the project plan. It relies on a clear project scope statement that has stakeholder buy-in.
What is a project scope statement?
The scope statement is the north star of scope management. It specifies your project’s objectives, deliverables, and the tasks required to achieve them. It also includes what won’t be included in the project.
This distinction helps you manage project risk and make more strategic decisions throughout the project lifecycle. For example, an idea or request that comes up during a website redesign project might be rejected if it falls under the scope statement’s list of exclusions.
Free project scope statement template
Download our project scope statement template for free:
What is scope creep?
If you start your project and run into unforeseen additions or changes to your project’s goals, you’ve run into scope creep. It’s a common occurrence in projects, especially those with poorly defined scope statements.
According to the Project Management Institute, scope creep is one of the top contributing factors to project failure and project management mistakes. Too many unanticipated issues or tasks can eat up resources and prolong timelines, potentially leading to lower-quality deliverables and team burnout.
A thorough and precise scope statement is the first line of defense against scope creep, but sometimes leveraging an effective change management plan is the best way to address unanticipated obstacles or opportunities.
Learn more: How to Prevent Scope Creep
Benefits of project scope management
Scope management helps you maximize your project’s efficiency, maintain realistic timelines, and utilize resources effectively. It’s also key to meeting stakeholder expectations, as it establishes realistic timelines, budgets, and deliverables. Without effective scope management, there’s a high risk that the project will experience unforeseen delays, added costs, and a loss of direction overall.
The process of project scope management
The Project Management Institute provides a comprehensive six-step project scope management process in its Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). This structured approach is designed to assist in developing a robust scope management plan and make sure that your project remains focused and on course.
1. Create a plan framework
This first step involves creating a scope plan document to guide the project. It defines, manages, validates, and controls the project’s scope, including a detailed project scope statement, project requirements, expected deliverables, and the project change control process. This step sets a clear framework and reference for the scope management process.
2. Collect requirements
This stage involves gathering stakeholder requirements and expectations by conducting interviews, surveys, and focus groups. Doing so ensures the stakeholders’ realistic expectations align with the project’s capabilities.
3. Define the scope
This step turns the collected requirements into a detailed description of the service or product to be delivered. It’s essential to clearly define what is within and outside the project’s scope to avoid scope creep and help the team focus only on relevant tasks.
3. Create a work breakdown structure
Creating a WBS (work breakdown structure) involves breaking down the work to be done into smaller tasks and assigning these tasks to team members. The WBS lists deliverables and deadlines, which can help track progress and avoid bottlenecks.
4. Validate scope
At this point, project executives and stakeholders review and approve the scope and deliverables. This step is essential for confirming that the project is on the right track before commencement. It allows for early identification and rectification of any misalignments or issues.
5. Control scope
Staying within the defined scope is necessary as the project progresses. Any changes should follow the established change control process. Effective scope control is key to managing project changes without losing sight of the original objectives and constraints.
Tips for effective scope management
Here are some practical tips and PM strategies to effectively manage project scope, prevent scope creep, and align stakeholder expectations.
About the author