When the subject of project scope comes up, many people immediately think of the features and functions of a product or service, and maybe the results that are expected. But one key aspect that’s often overlooked is the level of quality each of the features and functions requires. A well trained project manager will need to understand the connection between the quality and scope of a project.
Quality is a critical component of project scope, because the cost and amount of resources to deliver the set of specified features and functions will depend on what level of quality is needed. And the quality doesn’t always need to be high.
The simplest example to illustrate this point is a hamburger. By definition, a hamburger is some ground beef between a bun along with maybe some cheese, onions, pickles, and condiments. In project scope terms, these are the features and functions. Most any fast food restaurant can provide you with a hamburger at a cheap price.
But if you’re a hamburger aficionado, you’re not going to be satisfied with just any burger. You’ll go to a specialty restaurant offering locally sourced, grass-fed beef and artisan buns. And of course, you’ll expect to pay two to three times the amount you’d spend at a fast food place.
An even better example is a laptop PC. Most of us look to pay between $500 and $1,500 for a decent laptop, expecting to get about 3 to 5 years of life from it with normal use. Designing and building these standard laptops doesn’t take a lot of time or effort.
Now let’s change the project scope: What if the laptop PC will be used by field troops in the military? The standard version wouldn’t last 3 to 5 days in most deployments. This computer would have to be able to handle 240-degree heat, be able to survive a 10-foot drop, and continue to operate when a shovel full of dirt is thrown on the keyboard. For this level of quality, you could expect to pay around $5,000 per laptop. It would also take a team of engineers a lot more time and effort to produce and test it. Our project management training courses will help you better understand how to manage scope and quality from the outset of a project, so that you and your client can make important decisions up front.
Project Managers face many factors that come into play when managing and defining project scope, particularly when faced with a complex project management assignment, and this question of quality is a pivotal one. Through our project management training courses we will empower you with a critical understanding of how to set an appropriate scope for any project.
So as you look at the features and functions, ask yourself: Does the project call for the nearly indestructible computer or a run-of-the-mill laptop? Make sure your project scope tells the full story.
Ben Snyder is the CEO of Systemation, (www.systemation.com), a project management, business analysis, and agile development training and consulting company that has been training professionals since 1959. Systemation is a results-driven training and consulting company that maximizes the project-related performance of individuals and organizations. Known for instilling highly practical, immediately usable processes and techniques, Systemation has proven to be an innovative agent of business transformation for many government entities and Fortune 2000 companies, including Verizon Wireless, Barclays Bank, Mattel, The Travelers Companies, Bridgestone, Amgen, Wellpoint and Whirlpool.