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Project Scope Management
By Cora Systems

Project Scope Management

Figure 1: Project Scope Management

Today organizations are facing situations where great ideas get shelved due to their expectations. Project Managers need to be able to show others the expectations and vision project “X” will bring once completed. As you can envisage, planning is essential in the successful management of projects and this where the project scope management becomes valuable.

A scope statement is probably the most important document produced for a project however it can be over shadowed and ultimately put on the long finger leading to project creep. The project scope is developed within the initial planning stages of a project and could be looked at as being a blueprint for a project. When fully utilised the project scope details the characteristics of the project once it is completed, this also helps manage the expectations of the project stakeholders to ensure they know exactly what was agreed from the start.

A standard process should be taken on when dealing with project scope so I have laid out a number of steps that could be taken when developing a project scope. They include:

  1. Brainstorming: Conduct a brainstorming session with project stakeholders to gather the project objectives. This give a clear picture as to why this project should be undertaken.
  2. Requirements: Once the brainstorming has been completed a list of the requirements should be drawn up. All requirements must be identified clearly and obtainable during the project. Any goals or non goals need to be also identified. Non-goals are items that are specifically not going to be addressed during the project; this will help with scope creep.

  3. Deliverables: Identify the deliverables and if possible link them into specific milestones. Like before these need to be agreed upon by the project stakeholders and any other individual including in the project.

  4. Costs: Include the cost estimates of a project, it is important to be as accurate as possible here. If the estimates are too low, the project is in danger of going over budget and if the estimate is too high, resources that are allocated to the project are held here and not available to other projects.

  5. Signed, sealed and deliver: Once the project manager has assembled all of the necessary elements into one document, all the project stakeholders and owners need to agree with it and sign it off. Having a meeting at this stage would be ideal to clear up any discrepancies and make any final changes

  6. Scope change management: Expectations around cost and time have now been set and agreed upon, however if the deliverables of the project change so may the expectations. This change process must be managed through a well-defined process to ensure that the right decision is made. A few things to keep in mind during this process would be; sponsor’s approval, communication and impacts of the change.

To conclude, project scope doesn’t always get the time and attention that it needs. More and more the project scope is the most neglected point in the planning phase. However, it can be the most valuable piece of information that you have available to you as it will guide the project in the right direction. The scope keeps structure on the time, resources and budget associated with the project. It has been said that if a scope does not run to a few pages, it’s probably too short. It is important to take the time to work out your scope with your project team members to ensure a collective understanding. Keeping strict management around the project scope will have a positive impact on the overall project.

Established in 1999, with over 12 years of experience in Project Management Software, Cora Systems have developed a highly functional, web-based system. Our skills and knowledge have enabled us to become a world leader in Project, Portfolio and Performance Management Software. We value our extensive client base and provide a comprehensive range of services to ensure our customers gains the full value and benefits from using ProjectVision. www.corasystems.com

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