Have you ever had the feeling of not knowing exactly how your project is progressing? Is it close to completion? Are the objectives being achieved? Why are we working on a new requirement that didn’t exist at the beginning of the project? Many of these uncertainties are due to inefficient scope management. This is such a relevant topic that PMBOK has a whole section dedicated to it.
In this article, we will explain the principles involved in this important topic for good project management.
What is project scope?
Project scope describes, in detail, the project’s deliverables and what is needed to do to achieve these deliveries. It also contains the specifications of the product to be delivered, the acceptance criteria and, most importantly, it also defines what is not part of the scope.
Where to start?
Every good project manager devotes special attention to developing the Project Charter. In addition to formalizing the start of the project, it contains basic, but important and crucial information:
- What problem should be solved?
- What product or goal should be achieved?
- What targets have to be achieved to meet the objectives?
- What are the premises and risks?
The project charter also usually contains:
- Definition of team members and their responsibilities;
- List of requirements to be met;
- Summary schedule and budget.
Scope management, step by step
As we mentioned above, PMBOK has an entire section dedicated to scope management. It recommends 6 steps that address planning to scope control:
1 – Scope management planning
In this stage, the principles that will govern the scope of the project are defined, that is, the guidelines for its creation and how it will be monitored and validated. The basis for creating this plan is the project charter and it serves as a guide for the development of other processes.
2 – Compiling requirements
A requirement in a project is something that one or more interested parties considers necessary for the project to achieve its objectives. It can refer to parts or features of the product, or relate to quality or even compliance.
The starting point for compiling requirements is an analysis of the project charter and any document that contains the needs of the interested parties. It is important to determine the acceptance criteria for the requirements.
The requirements compiling process should have a sufficient level of detail so that they can be understood and registered. Their analysis will give rise to the project Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), the object of step 4.
3 – Scope definition
This step involves the detailed description of the project and what it should produce. In these processes, the necessary resources are also identified according to the defined scope, and possible restrictions and identified risks should also be recorded. Mitigation plans can be applied, using tools such as SoftExpert Risk.
The scope definition is important because, among other things, it clearly identifies what is and what is not included in the project, and the ways to control the entry and exit of requirements.
4 – Creation of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
The concept originally comes from politics, but here also the idea of “divide and conquer” fits perfectly. By dividing project requirements or products into smaller components, they become easier to manage. WBS is extremely important for the project as it provides a detailed and hierarchical view, helping everyone involved to understand what is going on in the project. You can set up your WBS manually, but with a solution for project management, such as SoftExpert Project, everything will be integrated and allow for automatic schedule generation. During the execution of the activities, the recording of hours will begin to indicate the progress of the project and help in project management. In one way or another, the WBS registers the work and estimated costs of activities.
5 – Scope validation
This process is triggered whenever a project delivery is made, with the objective of registering the formal acceptance by the client. The basis for verifying the degree of completion of the delivery should be the specifications of the related requirements.
6 – Scope control
As the project is being executed, the scope’s progress should be monitored and compared with what was anticipated. Another aspect to be considered is that it is very likely that changes in scope will occur. A project rarely starts and ends without this occurring. Change requests should follow well-defined consensus, authorization and communication processes. The whole team and all stakeholders have to understand the changes that have occurred and how this affects the outcome of the project.
Now that you know a little more about Scope Management, get to know SoftExpert PPM– the software that helps organizations to easily manage projects, programs, people, services and finances with a comprehensive set of features to simplify project management best practices, with a low ownership total cost.