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How to State Scope for a Project?

Eric McConnell
April 22, 2010
4,731 views

Consider objectives, deliverables and requirements for stating project scope

how to set project scope

Purpose of Stating Scope

Stating the scope of a project is probably the most important step of the planning process within the project life cycle. If a project manager doesn’t know for sure what deliverables are being produced, what technical requirements are, and what the boundaries are, he/she has no chance for success, even having excellent management skills. If the task to make scope statement wasn’t done, managing the scope is almost impossible.

The purpose of stating scope is to clearly characterize and approve the logical boundaries of a project. Scope statements demonstrate participants involved in the project what is within the project boundaries and what is outside those boundaries. The person, who is in charge of a project planner, should clearly realize that the more aspects of scope definition are identified, the more chances for success the project has.

The first step to state scope can be taken when the project is proposed for funding. It is the initial phase of the project when the project proposal is issued and agreed by sponsors. The project proposal is the starting point for getting the detailed scope statement. Sponsors invest their money in project development, so they are interested in success. That is the case that many PM methodologies mention when it comes about a scope statement. The project planner must work with sponsors to have enough information for creating a clear and comprehensive statement of scope. Sponsors won’t invest a dollar if they don’t see whether the project can succeed.

Objectives, deliverables and requirements

balanced scope can be stated if objectives, deliverables and requirements are aligned with the scope, and there is no conflict between them. The first aspect of scope statement is setting project objectives and deliverables. Various PM methodologies asserted that there should be one or more deliverables produced to accomplish an objective of a project. Deliverables describe what measurable and auditable result (a product or service) the project will deliver. Deliverables also identify what organizations and individuals are impacted by the project and what types of data are needed.

A project objective is an interpretation of deliverables in terms of the benefits an organization expects to achieve as a result of spending time, investing money and exerting effort to complete a project. Scope statement is defined by project objectives as to definition and implementation of deliverables.

Project requirements are necessary characteristics of the project scope. They specify the objectives allowing planning the project accurately.technical requirement specification with the project sponsor to find out whether the project can be done at the price submitted.

Software tools

In order to state the scope, set objectives, identify requirements specifications and define deliverables, planners can use tools based on software and IT technologies. Project tools allow creating various templates which are convenient for managing scope documentation and sharing data with stakeholders. It is a good practice to use project management software to coordinate teams, communicate with stakeholders, conduct workshops and meetings, align actual results with expectations, and keep track of tasks throughout the whole project life-cycle.

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