Scope of the Project: what it is and how to do it in 6 steps

When you go traveling, you are certainly preparing for nothing to go wrong during the tour. Plan a roadmap with the most interesting things to do, places to visit, and so on. The same thing happens when a company is going to start a new project: it needs to plan in detail what, why and how it will happen . This is what we call the scope of the project . If you want to know exactly what the scope of the project is and how to make one, check out:

  • What is the scope of the project
  • The difference between project scope and product scope
  • How to scope the project in 6 steps
  • Benefits of making a project scope statement
  • Conclusion

 

What is the scope of the project

The scope of the project describes the work required to deliver a product, service or tangible result, it is the mapping of all the work that will be required to complete the project.

In the scope, there are some aspects that must be present, such as the project’s justification, objectives, restrictions, available resources and interested parties (stakeholders).

It is common for the scope of the project to be confused with a similar concept, the scope of the product. Keep reading, as we will explain what it is:

 

What is the product scope

The product scope gathers the characteristics of the final product in a description that gathers the customer’s details and the possible changes made by the interested parties.

Among the product scope definitions are measures, number of components, style preferences, among others. The product scope of a cake, for example, will specify the flavor, shape, number of floors, the types of decorations, how many candles will be placed, etc.

A product should only be considered complete when all the definitions and changes defined in the product scope, as far as possible. Otherwise, the customer does not receive what he asked for and ends up dissatisfied.

Understand the main differences between project scope and product scope:

The difference between project scope and product scope

When we talk about scope creation, we can divide this work into two parts: the project scope and the product scope.

The product scope contains all the details and specifications that the product needs to have, including to meet the needs and expectations of interested parties. It is a definition of the final result that the project must have.

The scope of the project, on the other hand, contains the  work  that will be required to carry out this project, with details on the activities that will be performed throughout it.

It is also important to remember that it contains only the necessary work  . Therefore, the project manager must ensure that work is not carried out beyond what was established in the scope, as these works were not approved by the sponsor.

 

How to scope the project in 6 steps

 

1. Scope management planning

The scope planning and management process consists of planning and documenting how the project and product scopes will be defined, controlled and validated.

The tools for planning scope management are:

  • Expert opinion from individuals with knowledge or training on previous similar projects
  • Data analysis, that is, of several alternative ways to elaborate, validate and control the scope.
  • Meetings to develop the scope management plan.

2. Collection of requirements

The requirements collection process consists of documenting and managing stakeholder needs and requirements to meet the project’s objectives. This includes defining the characteristics that the product and the project must have to solve the customer’s problem and meet the expectations of the sponsors.

Requirements must be documented in sufficient detail to be measurable and can be included in the scope baseline.

3. Defining the scope of the project

The scope definition process consists of the effective elaboration of a scope, that is, the detailing of all the work necessary to carry out the project.

It is necessary to develop a description of the project and the product and, for this, one of the tools used is the product analysis. Product analysis consists of obtaining answers about all product characteristics.

Other tools for defining the scope are: expert opinion, generation of alternatives, data analysis, interpersonal and team skills and decision making.

The. Project charter

The project charter is the document that establishes several elements related to the project before it starts. In the opening statement are usually found:

Project justification

The project’s rationale must explain clearly and rationally why the project is important and why it should be carried out . This will guide all other aspects of the scope.

Purpose of the Project

The purpose of the project shows the expected purpose of the project , and is usually related to the solution of some requirement. For example: if the justification for a renovation project is an infiltration in the wall, the purpose will be to end the infiltration.

Project objectives

You can define one or more goals for your project. The important thing is that the objectives are clear and measurable , since they will work as criteria for the project’s success.

Product description

The product description should detail all the characteristics of the product , service or result that the project will generate. In the example we gave of the renovation work, the product description must present exactly how the house should be “delivered” after the work: clean, with the pipes properly connected, walls sealed, and so on.

Project Stakeholders

Stakeholders are the parties interested in the project, and may be customers , employees involved in the execution of the project (sponsors, project managers, project team …) and even third parties, depending on the case.

In projects such as the renovation of a house, it is not only customers and employees who are the interested party: the neighborhood also enters as a stakeholder in the project, after all, works generate disruption, they can change the way sunlight strikes the land, change the dynamics of traffic on the street, increase the amount of noise due to construction equipment, etc.

Project Deliveries

Here, the set of products, capabilities and / or results that need to be delivered during the project must be listed.

Time and Cost Estimates

It is important to estimate how long the project will need to be completed and also the financial resources it will require. Then, these estimates will serve as a reference for the organization to define its budget realistically and will also justify the charges and terms that the client will receive.

Project Exclusions

As important as detailing what is part of the project is to state explicitly everything that is not part of the project. This is essential so that no doubts arise in the middle of execution and also so that no one decides to do more than expected, not least because the time and cost estimates take into account only what is within the scope .

Acceptance Criteria

The acceptance criteria of the project dictate in what conditions the deliveries must be in order to be accepted, that is, they are the standards that the deliverables of the project need to follow.

Assumptions

Assumptions are the assumptions made about the project. Examples of premise in a renovation work would be:

  • It will not rain on any construction day
  • No employee will be absent or need to be absent during execution
  • All suppliers will deliver the work materials on the agreed date

These assumptions are taken for granted when planning the scope and justify the cost and term estimates. If any premise is not confirmed, there will probably be differences between the estimated and the realized.

Restrictions

It is also necessary to determine, in the project charter, what are the factors that limit the execution. Time, human resource and cost limits are often the main constraints.

Scratchs

In addition to the premises and restrictions, it is necessary to map the risks that the project is subject to. Of course, you will not be able to predict everything that can “go wrong” in the progress of the project, as this is practically impossible, but focus on identifying the most likely things to happen to be prevented if the risks are confirmed.

 

When all of these items are completed, your project charter is ready. However, as the information in the opening statement is superficial, there is a need to delve into the most important ones in a complementary document, the scope statement .

B. Project scope statement

 

Identification

First of all, give your project a title, put the name (s) of the approver (s) and the date of approval.

Project Scope Description

The scope description provides more details on what will happen at each stage of the project. Generally, the main aspects of the description include:

  • The start and end date
  • The team needed to execute
  • Step by step to deliver the products, services or expected results.

Project Deliveries

In the charter, the project deliverables should only be quoted. In the scope statement, each delivery must be described in detail , explaining the objective of each one, by whom it will be developed, what benefits each delivery can bring or what problems it can solve, the characteristics they must present, etc.

Acceptance Criteria

At this stage of defining the scope of the project, further specification of the standards expected from each delivery is required.

Project Exclusions

If there are additional limits to those described in the charter, here is the place to mention them.

And that is all that should be in the scope of your project. It may seem difficult at first, but now that you have the right orientation you will only spend energy at the right points.

Any questions about how to set up the project scope? Check out this full post for an example of the scope of the Corporate University implementation project in an organization, carried out by a consulting firm specialized in project management.

 

4. Creation of WBS

Moving on, the next step in scope management is to set up the Project Analytical Structure (WBS), which visually organizes all the work that has to be done on the project.

The WBS (project analytical structure) is a subdivision of the project’s work into smaller parts, so that it can be more easily managed.

This subdivision is done hierarchically, with the objective of organizing what should be done. Each subdivision is a work package and has its time and costs estimated, monitored and controlled.

In addition to the WBS itself, a dictionary is created that describes each of the elements contained therein.

The creation of a WBS is very important, so be sure to read our  practical guide on how to do WBS in project management , a post dedicated exclusively to this subject.

Webinar: How to create a Project Analytical Structure (WBS)

AEP is found more often in traditional management scopes, since it facilitates the production of the product in parts. In agile management methods it is not used; instead, a backlog is created with the tasks that must be performed in order of priority. The backlog constantly undergoes a priority review, so that the production process continues according to plan.

5. Validation of the project scope

Having the scope defined, there is only one detail to put into practice: the validation. If it is identified that the scope needs to be changed, this will happen in the validation process. If not, you can move on to action.

The scope validation process consists of formalizing the acceptance of the project deliverables. This occurs whenever a delivery is completed and, if any of them is not accepted, a change request is made in order to make the necessary repairs.

By validating each delivery, it is easier to ensure that the project as a whole is accepted on completion.

How to ensure understanding of the Project Scope

6. Scope control

Once the project is running, you must control the progress, see if the scope is being followed and analyze, mainly, if the defined estimates are in agreement with the accomplished.

The scope control process consists of monitoring the status of the scope and managing changes to the scope baseline. This helps to track job performance, project change requests and allows the scope baseline to be maintained throughout the project.

So, did you understand how the scope statement and management works?

It is always good to remember that, in order to do a good project management, it is necessary to maintain a high level of organization during all the processes that compose it. In this sense, a project management system can help to further improve project performance. Be sure to read our post on the subject to find out  what the main features of a project management system are  and how they can help you.

 

Benefits of making a project scope statement

 

Prevents mistakes from being made

Making a scope statement helps you better manage the work that will be done on the project and prevents mistakes from being made.

Problems in the scope management area can and will impact all other areas of the project, as this is where the specifications on the activities of the project will appear.

Brings better vision to stakeholders

Making a scope statement ensures a better view of stakeholders about the project. Sponsors can know exactly what work they are paying for, and can charge for that result.

The project manager also benefits, as the scope statement helps to manage activities and prevents him from being charged for requirements that were not in scope.

Guides the direction of activities

A scope statement is a standardized and accessible document. It ensures that everyone involved is aware of the main aspects of the project, providing a common vision.

Since all the work that will be needed is contained in the scope, it becomes more difficult to get lost in unnecessary activities.

The declaration is not the only component of the scope. In fact, there are a number of processes that aim to ensure that the work required for the project is carried out. We will understand this subject better in the next topic.

However, as well as bringing benefits, there are risks when it comes to declaring the scope of the project, which those responsible need to be aware of. Check out:

 

Common challenges and mistakes when declaring the scope of the project

 

Because it is a complex process, it can happen that certain important criteria are left out of the project scope statement, which can affect the entire production. Below are some of the main challenges encountered and errors that should be avoided when declaring a scope:

Do not define responsibilities

When declaring the scope of the project it is risky to leave the responsibilities open. When there is uncertainty about who is responsible for each process, there may be conflicts of interest, negligence and a drop in the quality of the final product. Now, when each participant has well-defined responsibilities, it is possible to know who is responsible for a problem in a certain process or who to talk to in case of any change.

Keep the statement straight

As already mentioned, the scope of the project should contain only the necessary work. Therefore, it is important that the declaration is not filled out with unnecessary processes or that deviate from the one proposed by the client. If too detailed, the production of the product may take longer than planned and the materials available may not be sufficient.

 

Example of project scope by Artia

Using Artia’s project management software, declaring a new project is simple.

The first information is the most basic: name of the project, client (which is chosen from all clients registered by the company), type of project, categories, among others. Then, the start and delivery deadline is defined and how many estimated hours its execution should take. In addition, the project description is made, encompassing all product characteristics, professionals involved, responsibilities and more details. The justification will define why such a project is a priority and what the benefits of its execution will be.

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