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Defining the Scope in IT Projects – Part I (#1 in the series Defining the Scope in IT Projects)
By Neville TurbitProject Perfect

Scope vs Time & Cost

When people talk about scope, they immediately think time and cost. Time and cost are outputs of scope. Determining scope is a different exercise. In the context of this white paper, when we talk about defining the scope, we are talking about developing a common understanding as to what is included in, or excluded from, a project. We are not talking about deciding how long it will take, or how much it will cost. That comes after the scope is defined.

If we were looking for a car, we would first define the scope. For example we want a 4-cylinder front wheel drive with seating for 2 adults and 2 children, and less than 2 years old. Maybe you also want it to be a red convertible.

Having defined the scope, you can calculate cost and time. How much you will have to spend and how long you will take to buy it. If you get the scope wrong, the time and cost will be wrong.

Why is Scope important?

Anyone who has ever done a project will have tales of how scope changes caused grief. Scope is bound to change, and this is to be expected. As the detail becomes clearer, more complications creep in. These are not foreseeable at the start and hopefully we build in a contingency for what we cannot see.

The scope changes that usually cause problems are those where the perception of what was in and out of scope was different between various parties. The Project Manager assumed there would only be four or five reports, and the business assumed ten to twenty. Nobody felt it was worth talking about because they assumed the other person thought the same way they did.

Project Perfect is a project management software and project infrastructure consulting organisation based in Sydney Australia. Their focus is to provide creative yet pragmatic solutions to Project Management issues as well as to set up the infrastructure an organisation requires to successfully manage projects.

Project Perfect sell “Project Administrator” software, which is a tool to assist organisations better manage project risks, issues, budgets, scope, documentation planning and scheduling. They also created a technique for gathering requirements called “Method H”, and sell software to support the technique. For more information on Project tools or Project Management visit www.projectperfect.com.au

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