Project scope is a defining metric, reflecting the totality of the overall purpose and vision for a given project. Once defined and approved, scope provides a roadmap for project planning and execution. To achieve successful results, project scope must be clearly stated in specific, measureable terms, ready for stakeholder negotiation, acceptance and approval. Read on for more.
Project scope exists at multiple levels, starting with the project outcome itself, and then expanding to include the corresponding “process effort” required to plan, manage and execute. In addition, in order to achieve all established project goals and objective, scope specifications must go beyond “what will be done” (the scope inclusions), to also state “what won’t be done” (the scope exclusions).
In order to fill all strategic and operational needs, project scope is defined using a series of logical and physical “templates” – providing the steps and strategies required to determine scope, along with the physical documentation formats needed to produce tangible “scope deliverables”. Tangible formats are essential to ensure informed consent and approval, forming the basis upon which scope terms can be reviewed and negotiated. And, when it comes to defining and documenting project scope, there is one key rule – make it actionable.
Scope lies at the heart of the project definition process, specifying “what will be done” and “what won’t be done”. A well defined scope sets realistic expectations, and creates a framework for project execution. Can you proceed without defined scope? Sure. But you don’t want to, and you certainly don’t need to. If you follow effective, standardized practices for scope definition and documentation, approval will most certainly be a key part of that process.
While scope "specifics" will vary according to the nature and conditions of the project at hand, standardized scope "specifications" should share all of the following characteristics:
Scope management is essential to on time project delivery. Since the best outcomes depend on balanced needs and capabilities, scope “creep” (i.e. when scope is allowed to expand uncontrolled) must be avoided. Scope should never exceed negotiated boundaries – not without further planning and buy-in. Scope "status" must be continually monitored, allowing for managed change as needed.
Above all, a well-defined scope will result from collaborative planning and decision making, to engage project stakeholders, and receive valuable input as needed. Considering the undeniable connection between scope definition and project success, these negotiations are often tricky, fraught with political peril. At any point in time, individual stakeholders may seek to expand scope, lessen scope, or make project changes without any thought to scope at all. In addition, external forces may seek to limit the scope of one project in favor of another. The possibilities are endless. It’s important to know the players, and set expectations for every stage of the game.
Are you ready to lead your I.T. department to become more valued, relevant and responsive? If so, then you need the IT Service Strategy Toolkit from ITtoolkit.com! The Toolkit teaches you how to "add value" to IT projects and services -- using our time-saving "service strategy process". It's ready for instant download, filled with 400+ pages of steps, guidelines, practices and templates. Find Out More
While you're here, don't forget to check out our collection of free templates, whitepapers and management infographics.
You can find our most popular blog articles at the links below, organized by subject matter.
Strategic "project fast tracking" is a streamlined project management process, specifically used to overcome the most common types of project obstacles, including insufficient time, resource shortages, budgetary deficiencies and stakeholder conflicts.
Get an illustrated view of the fast tracking process in the "Step-by-Step to a Fast Tracked Project" infographic.
Sign up for the ITtoolkit.com newsletter and be the first to know about our latest blog articles, templates, white papers, infographics, and special offers.
We won't overload your inbox and we don't share or sell subscriber information. Just enter your email address below.