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What Is Project Management Scope and Why It Is Important?

One of the core responsibilities of a project manager is to manage the scope of the project. The PM must ensure that the project is rolled out smoothly from start to finish, and that there are no major budget overruns or schedule delays. This, of course, is easier said than done!  Even in a project that has been discussed and documented to the last detail, issues with the scope of the project are inevitable. The requirements could undergo a change, which results in a corresponding change in the project deliverables. This results in scope creep—a scenario where the requirements increase over the lifecycle of the project, necessitating a re-evaluation of the project requirements. It is the project manager’s job to rein in scope creep and strike a balance between changing requirements, budget and time, while at the same time enforcing quality. In this blog, you’ll read about the various steps involved in project scope management and understand why it is so important. What is Project Scope?“The work that needs to be accomplished to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions.” - PMBOK®  By the above definition, the Scope of the project is the effort needed to deliver the project goals, with the features and functionality that has been defined.  It involves three processes: Planning, Controlling and Monitoring, and Closing. 1. Planning:  The requirements for the work that needs to be done are captured and defined. 2. Controlling and Monitoring:  This process tracks the scope creep and approves or rejects project changes. 3. Closing: Before the project is closed, a detailed audit is carried out of the project deliverables, and a comparison is made from the final outcomes against those that were originally planned. What is Project Scope Management?"Managing project scope is primarily concerned with defining and controlling what is and is not included in the project.” - PMBOK® As we have already established, changes in scope are very common and to be expected, especially if the project is very large. During project scope management, the project goals and outcomes, the tasks needed to complete the deliverables, scheduled deadlines, and planned budgets are clearly identified, defined and documented. Importance of Project Scope ManagementOne of the most challenging (and yet, one of the most important!) responsibilities that you will have to undertake as a project manager is to manage the expectations of stakeholders and customers. If the project scope is well managed, it is easier to stay focused and on track, both in terms of time as well as budget.   When done right, project scope management gives clarity on the time schedules, resource management and cost outlay.  It helps to mitigate risks and avoid issues like the following: Requirements that keep changing over the course of the project Budget overruns Not meeting time schedules Need for rework when the project is already halfway completed The outcome falling short of what was expected, resulting in the customers being disappointed The Project Scope StatementThe Project Scope Statement, also sometimes called the Scope Document or Statement of Work, is a detailed document that  Lists the boundaries of the project and establishes clear responsibilities,  Defines work processes and procedures for approval of the finished product, and Lays out guidelines for making decisions related to the product.  Essentially, the Scope Statement identifies and documents the work to be done to complete the project successfully. It is important to note that when this documentation is done, team members must be very specific so that scope creep is avoided, and to make sure that the end product closely aligns with the customer requirements.What are the Steps Involved in Project Scope Management?Project Scope Management involves creating a plan that defines and maps the project stages, so that it does not stray outside the planned scope. It involves the following broad steps: Step 1: Plan the process to define the work that must be done to complete the project Step 2: Monitor and control the processes Step 3: Clearly document and track the work in order to avoid scope creep, even when changes happen Step 4: Close the project, conduct an audit of deliverables and assess the final outcomes against the initial plan. Steps for Defining the Scope of a ProjectIt is very important to spend time on defining the scope, as a poorly developed scope that is not clear, improperly detailed out or incomplete can be a leading cause of project failure. The scope definition considers all the following parameters: Project objectives and goals Tasks and Sub-tasks Resources Budget Schedules and timelines After clearly establishing each of these parameters, the project boundaries must be set. This will identify all aspects that will—and will not—be included in the project. It makes clear to all stakeholders, to the management and the team what will be out of context for the project and helps avoid any ambiguity in this regard. Project Scope Management ProcessesThere are six processes involved in project scope management. Let’s look at what they are:  1. Planning scope management Here, the scope plan document is created, which can be referred to through the course of the project. It is based on inputs that are gleaned from the project plan and the project charter. Stakeholders are also consulted, and their inputs considered at this stage. This document is an invaluable tool that helps to define, manage, validate and control the scope.  2. Collecting requirements Next, the requirements management plan is created and documented. It is based on the scope management plan, and further takes into consideration all the inputs from stakeholders and others. The requirements are understood in depth by conducting interviews with stakeholders, conducting focus group discussions, and holding surveys. This step helps to avoid unrealistic expectations from stakeholders and gets everyone on the same page as to what the project entails, and what is not included. 3. Defining the scope During this stage, the project scope statement is produced, and is a detailed description of the end-product or service. It considers the requirements documentation and the project charter, as also the scope management plan. It will henceforth be the basis of all the activities to be carried out and will be used as the point of reference for everyone working on the project. 4. Creating the Work Breakdown Structure  The Work Breakdown Structure, also called WBS, is created after a detailed analysis of all the documentation created so far the project scope statement and the requirements management plan. The project is broken down into tasks, which indicate small chunks of work that must be completed to deliver the completed product or service. Deliverables and timelines are listed out. To increase efficiency, many teams use project management tools at this stage, that will help to allocate resources, identify bottlenecks and prioritize tasks. 5. Validating scopeAt this stage, the scope and deliverables are inspected and reviewed by stakeholders and their approval is recorded. Before starting the project, unless the scope is validated it becomes difficult to find out where something has gone wrong. 6. Controlling scope Perhaps the most difficult process is controlling the scope. If there are any changes to the project plan, a change control process should be put in place. Project managers should do all they can to ensure that the scope creep is controlled, and the project stays on track. Project Scope Management TipsThe scope statement must be defined and articulated in a way that avoids ambiguity.  Incomplete definitions lead to slips in the schedules and the budgets will be overrun as a result. Ensure that all definitions are clear, complete in all respects, and are accurate. Detail out the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) as much as possible, so that the work gets broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks. If there is collaboration while creating the scope definitions, any misinterpretations can be avoided. Everyone will be aware of the boundaries of the scope; what it entails and what it doesn’t. At every stage, the scope document should be shared with relevant stakeholders. During the validation stage, take care to ensure all the important stakeholders have their say. Once the project scope is defined, it cannot be changed.  Once the scope document is created, it should be frozen, and no alterations are permitted while executing the project. There should be no interim increase in the scope. Closing Thoughts The importance of project scope management can never be underestimated. It takes a great deal of patience, time and painstaking effort; but when conducted properly, it ensures that the project deliverables are met, without undue risks or unmanageable issues, and that the stakeholders are satisfied with the end product. Project management certifications like the Project Management Professional (PMP)® will equip you with the right skills and best practices in Project Management and help you to drive projects of any size or complexity to successful completion. 

What Is Project Management Scope and Why It Is Important?

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What Is Project Management Scope and Why It Is Important?

One of the core responsibilities of a project manager is to manage the scope of the project. The PM must ensure that the project is rolled out smoothly from start to finish, and that there are no major budget overruns or schedule delays. This, of course, is easier said than done!  

Even in a project that has been discussed and documented to the last detail, issues with the scope of the project are inevitable. The requirements could undergo a change, which results in a corresponding change in the project deliverables. This results in scope creep—a scenario where the requirements increase over the lifecycle of the project, necessitating a re-evaluation of the project requirements. 

It is the project manager’s job to rein in scope creep and strike a balance between changing requirements, budget and time, while at the same time enforcing quality. In this blog, you’ll read about the various steps involved in project scope management and understand why it is so important. 

What is Project Scope?

“The work that needs to be accomplished to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions.” - PMBOK®  

By the above definition, the Scope of the project is the effort needed to deliver the project goals, with the features and functionality that has been defined.  

It involves three processes: Planning, Controlling and Monitoring, and Closing. 

1. Planning:  

The requirements for the work that needs to be done are captured and defined. 

2. Controlling and Monitoring:  

This process tracks the scope creep and approves or rejects project changes. 

3. Closing: 

Before the project is closed, a detailed audit is carried out of the project deliverables, and a comparison is made from the final outcomes against those that were originally planned. 

What is Project Scope Management?

"Managing project scope is primarily concerned with defining and controlling what is and is not included in the project.” - PMBOK® 

As we have already established, changes in scope are very common and to be expected, especially if the project is very large. During project scope management, the project goals and outcomes, the tasks needed to complete the deliverables, scheduled deadlines, and planned budgets are clearly identified, defined and documented. 

Importance of Project Scope Management

One of the most challenging (and yet, one of the most important!) responsibilities that you will have to undertake as a project manager is to manage the expectations of stakeholders and customers. If the project scope is well managed, it is easier to stay focused and on track, both in terms of time as well as budget.   

When done right, project scope management gives clarity on the time schedules, resource management and cost outlay.  It helps to mitigate risks and avoid issues like the following: 

  • Requirements that keep changing over the course of the project 
  • Budget overruns 
  • Not meeting time schedules 
  • Need for rework when the project is already halfway completed 
  • The outcome falling short of what was expected, resulting in the customers being disappointed 

The Project Scope Statement

The Project Scope Statement, also sometimes called the Scope Document or Statement of Work, is a detailed document that  

  • Lists the boundaries of the project and establishes clear responsibilities,  
  • Defines work processes and procedures for approval of the finished product, and 
  • Lays out guidelines for making decisions related to the product.  

Essentially, the Scope Statement identifies and documents the work to be done to complete the project successfully. It is important to note that when this documentation is done, team members must be very specific so that scope creep is avoided, and to make sure that the end product closely aligns with the customer requirements.

What are the Steps Involved in Project Scope Management?

Project Scope Management involves creating a plan that defines and maps the project stages, so that it does not stray outside the planned scope. 

It involves the following broad steps: 

  • Step 1: Plan the process to define the work that must be done to complete the project 
  • Step 2: Monitor and control the processes 
  • Step 3: Clearly document and track the work in order to avoid scope creep, even when changes happen 
  • Step 4: Close the project, conduct an audit of deliverables and assess the final outcomes against the initial plan. 

Steps for Defining the Scope of a Project

It is very important to spend time on defining the scope, as a poorly developed scope that is not clear, improperly detailed out or incomplete can be a leading cause of project failure. The scope definition considers all the following parameters: 

  1. Project objectives and goals 
  2. Tasks and Sub-tasks 
  3. Resources 
  4. Budget 
  5. Schedules and timelines 

After clearly establishing each of these parameters, the project boundaries must be set. This will identify all aspects that will—and will not—be included in the project. It makes clear to all stakeholders, to the management and the team what will be out of context for the project and helps avoid any ambiguity in this regard. 

Project Scope Management Processes

There are six processes involved in project scope management. Let’s look at what they are:  

Project Scope Management

1. Planning scope management 

Here, the scope plan document is created, which can be referred to through the course of the project. It is based on inputs that are gleaned from the project plan and the project charter. Stakeholders are also consulted, and their inputs considered at this stage. This document is an invaluable tool that helps to define, manage, validate and control the scope.  

2. Collecting requirements 

Next, the requirements management plan is created and documented. It is based on the scope management plan, and further takes into consideration all the inputs from stakeholders and others. The requirements are understood in depth by conducting interviews with stakeholdersconducting focus group discussions, and holding surveys. 

This step helps to avoid unrealistic expectations from stakeholders and gets everyone on the same page as to what the project entails, and what is not included. 

3. Defining the scope 

During this stage, the project scope statement is produced, and is a detailed description of the end-product or service. It considers the requirements documentation and the project charter, as also the scope management plan. It will henceforth be the basis of all the activities to be carried out and will be used as the point of reference for everyone working on the project. 

4. Creating the Work Breakdown Structure  

The Work Breakdown Structure, also called WBS, is created after a detailed analysis of all the documentation created so far the project scope statement and the requirements management plan. The project is broken down into tasks, which indicate small chunks of work that must be completed to deliver the completed product or service. Deliverables and timelines are listed out. 

To increase efficiency, many teams use project management tools at this stage, that will help to allocate resources, identify bottlenecks and prioritize tasks. 

5. Validating scope

At this stage, the scope and deliverables are inspected and reviewed by stakeholders and their approval is recorded. Before starting the project, unless the scope is validated it becomes difficult to find out where something has gone wrong. 

6. Controlling scope 

Perhaps the most difficult process is controlling the scope. If there are any changes to the project plan, a change control process should be put in place. Project managers should do all they can to ensure that the scope creep is controlled, and the project stays on track. 

Project Scope Management Tips

  • The scope statement must be defined and articulated in a way that avoids ambiguity. 
  •  Incomplete definitions lead to slips in the schedules and the budgets will be overrun as a result. Ensure that all definitions are clear, complete in all respects, and are accurate. 
  • Detail out the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) as much as possible, so that the work gets broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks. 
  • If there is collaboration while creating the scope definitions, any misinterpretations can be avoided. Everyone will be aware of the boundaries of the scope; what it entails and what it doesn’t. At every stage, the scope document should be shared with relevant stakeholders. 
  • During the validation stage, take care to ensure all the important stakeholders have their say. Once the project scope is defined, it cannot be changed.  
  • Once the scope document is created, it should be frozen, and no alterations are permitted while executing the project. There should be no interim increase in the scope. 

Closing Thoughts 

The importance of project scope management can never be underestimated. It takes a great deal of patience, time and painstaking effort; but when conducted properly, it ensures that the project deliverables are met, without undue risks or unmanageable issues, and that the stakeholders are satisfied with the end product. 

Project management certifications like the Project Management Professional (PMP)® will equip you with the right skills and best practices in Project Management and help you to drive projects of any size or complexity to successful completion. 

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KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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What Are Deliverables for a Project and Why Are They Important?

Most projects go through several stages depending on how large or complex they are. In the initial stages the expected outcomes are decided, and the planning is done with the objective of achieving those outcomes within the constraints of time, budget, and quality.  In a complex project, there are several things that can go wrong. The planning may not have been sufficient. The expectations may have been different for each stakeholder, the budget may be inadequate. These problems in planning or in execution will usually surface only when someone realizes that the progress of the project is slow, or the outcomes are different from expectations.  At this point a significant amount of work has already gone in. To do a course correction or to bring the entire project back on track will be challenging. The effort that went into the project and the effort required to set things right could have been avoided if the issues were spotted at an earlier stage.  What could be done to ensure that such wasted efforts can be avoided? How can the issues be identified before they become a drain on all resources? This is where identifying and defining the deliverables for a project plays an important role. Why Are Deliverables Important for Project Management?Projects that are big and complex need to be broken down into stages, processes, components, categories, or any other classification that could make it easier to understand what is happening on a day-to-day basis. Without such a classification, it would be hard for anyone to understand what the work is that is happening, how it contributes to the project or even why it is needed.Dividing the project and tasks into small measurable parts helps all stakeholders measure the project progress. These small parts are the deliverables.  Project Managers may tend to classify deliverables according to their preferences or the nature of the project. A deliverable may be internal or external. A task that does not have an impact on the customer would be classified as an internal delivery. For example, it could be a piece of internal communication. An external deliverable may be an update to the website or app. By closely tracking these deliverables, you can make sure that the project is staying on track. Any part of the project that is not meeting the outcomes can be identified and rectified at an early stage. Project Manager’s Role in Building Project DeliverablesIt falls to the Project Manager to group the various stages of the project into sets of deliverables that can be completed and measured at brief time intervals. This assures all the stakeholders that the project is going smoothly according to plan and allows for enough transparency across the different teams working on the project. When defining a deliverable, it’s important to include guidelines in terms of what would be the acceptable quality, and what constitutes a deliverable being completed. The effectiveness of a project plan depends on how clearly deliverables are defined. By measuring the quality, timeliness, and frequency of these deliverables, you can be reassured that the project is progressing in a way that is on track to achieve the desired outcomes.  A project plan, or a status report are also deliverables. There is a distinction to be made here between project deliverables and product deliverables. While project deliverables track important variables that measure the health of the project, they do not relate directly to adding value to external customers. Project reports can improve the confidence of external stakeholders but are not directly related to a solution for the customer.  Product deliverables, on the other hand, relate to those deliverables that contribute to a product or solution for customers. By including both kinds of deliverables in a plan, you can ensure that apart from the work on the product there is also a robust mechanism in place to track progress according to predefined and expected outcomes. Deliverable Vs. Milestone: What’s the difference?A milestone is a term that is often confused with a deliverable. Both concepts are distinct and each of them serves a different purpose. A milestone signifies reaching a particular phase in a project, while a deliverable deals with meeting a smaller goal that is more clearly defined. There can be overlaps between deliverables and milestones. For example, meeting a deliverable may coincide with or result in reaching a milestone. Milestones signify different stages in a project. Tracking milestones alone will not give you a clear idea of how well the project is progressing. Milestones are achieved by completing a set of activities that could involve several deliverables. Without tracking the deliverables there is no way to ensure that a project is meeting its goals in terms of quality and expected outcomes. Checking progress only at milestones may lead to a lot of wasted effort and the need for course correction at an advanced stage. Milestones are too few in each project to provide an accurate checkpoint for progress. Deliverables always deal with a tangible outcome or result that can be measured, while milestones can be conceptual. Both are important to a project, but a focus on deliverables will ensure that project goals are met, and the outcome is closer to what was expected.Should You Use Project Management Software for Your Deliverables?As with most things, new and evolving software has had a big impact on project management. As projects become larger and more complex, it becomes difficult for a project manager or even a team to keep track of all the deliverables and all the issues affecting them. A robust project management software can make the task a lot easier for everyone involved. Using project management software would help the project at every stage. Even in the planning stage, a software tool could prompt users to define each deliverable and the expected outcome more accurately. It could also show how it is linked to other deliverables and where exactly it fits in the bigger picture. It also helps when all stakeholders have access to the deliverables that are important to them, and they can be monitored continuously and in real time. One important question to be answered is if the project is too small or has too few activities involved in it, should the team make the effort to use a tool? If the components and activities are straightforward and can be completed in a short timeframe, there is no real value add by introducing a new tool or software. Instead, the new process would only add unnecessary time and effort to the project.  Another important consideration is to think about whether the new tool or software would meet the expectations of all the stakeholders involved. Any change made to how the project is managed should not disrupt the ways in which the other stakeholders get updates or communication related to the project. In such cases where things do change, the stakeholders should be brought on board to the new way of working.Why Manage Your Deliverables with Project Management Software?The amount of advantages and features that project management software offers makes it an easy decision to use one. It makes life easier for everyone involved. The harder choice is to decide which software to use. A range of project management software tools are available based on the project needs. You can pick software or tools that you find most compatible for the organization or for the project. Deliverables provide a way to check the health of a project by measuring the progress of work against the pre-defined expected outcomes. By keeping track of deliverables, you can carry out quick course corrections and find issues before they become major roadblocks to the project.Rising Importance of Deliverables Project Management is not a new development. Some of the tools used are over a hundred years old (GANTT chart was introduced in 1917). In the last couple of decades in the 20th century software in project management started to flourish.  The rise and speed of the internet has enabled bigger and more complex projects that are spread out globally. Labor costs move job roles to different countries where labor is available at a cheaper rate. Teams tend to be more diverse and distributed today. There is also an emphasis on meeting requirements quickly and delivering value to the customer in a shorter amount of time. In this environment of rapid development, and changing nature of the workforce, it has become even more important for a project manager to focus on deliverables to make sure the project is set to achieve its desired outcomes. 
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What Are Deliverables for a Project and Why Are Th...

Most projects go through several stages depending ... Read More