Project scope management is the process of defining, documenting, managing, and controlling the work that needs to be done to deliver a project. It is a critical part of project management, as it helps to ensure that the project stays on track and meets its goals.
Managing project scope is the utmost priority of a project manager, regardless of the industry or sector. Effective scope management leads to successful project management in key areas such as time, cost, and quality. The process involves project initiation, scope planning, definition, verification, and change control, all interconnected by the work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS allows for more accurate project management, with a caution to strike a balance between reporting requirements and control needs. Managing project scope positively impacts procurement, contracts, risk, and human resource management.
A well-defined scope will help to ensure that the project stays on track and within budget. The five components of project scope management are:
- Project initiation: This is the process of defining the project and its goals. It is important to get buy-in from all stakeholders at this stage.
- Scope planning: This is the process of defining the specific work that will be done to achieve the project goals. The scope statement should be developed and agreed upon by all stakeholders.
- Scope definition: This is the process of breaking down the project into smaller, more manageable tasks. The work breakdown structure (WBS) is a tool that can be used to help with this process.
- Scope verification: This is the process of ensuring that the project scope is complete and accurate. This is done by reviewing the scope statement and the WBS.
- Scope change control: This is the process of managing any changes to the project scope. Changes should be carefully controlled to avoid scope creep.
The WBS is a key tool in all of the project scope management components. It provides a hierarchical breakdown of the project into its constituent elements. The WBS can be used to track progress, estimate costs, and identify risks.
Effective management of scope is essential for the success of any project. By following the five components of project scope management, project managers can help to ensure that their projects stay on track and within budget.
The initiation phase of project scope management involves identifying a business need that can be fulfilled by a project. This need can arise due to various factors such as market demand or new regulatory requirements. Once the business need is aligned with the company's strategic goals, a mini-project is authorized to carry out a feasibility analysis. The project manager is the first full-time resource assigned to the project, and they must possess both leadership and management qualities. Technical, economic, and financial feasibility aspects are explored during the feasibility analysis, which evaluates the availability of technological know-how, benefit-cost ratios, rates of return, and financial feasibility. The output of this phase is a detailed feasibility analysis, which is essential for management to decide whether to proceed with the project or shelve it.
The feasibility analysis should consider the following factors:
- The business need that the project is intended to address
- The technical feasibility of the project
- The economic feasibility of the project
- The financial feasibility of the project
- The risks associated with the project
If the feasibility analysis is positive, the project manager can then move on to the next phase of the project life cycle, which is the planning phase. Some of the activities that are typically performed during the project initiation phase:
- Identify the business need that the project is intended to address
- Define the project scope
- Develop a project charter
- Identify the project stakeholders
- Conduct a feasibility analysis
- Get approval to proceed with the project
The project initiation phase is an important stage in the project life cycle. It is important to carefully consider all of the factors involved in the project before making a decision to proceed. By doing so, you can increase the chances of the project being successful.
Scope planning is the process of defining the work that will be done in a project. It is important to define the scope of a project carefully so that there are no surprises later on.
During the scope planning phase, a summary and intermediate-level work breakdown structure (WBS) is developed, along with other key parameters such as project budget, schedule and key product parameters. This allows for a deliverable-oriented organization of the project, thereby allowing for the formation of a project organization to take care of each component of the project. A design basis memorandum (DBM) is then prepared, which is used to invite bids from prospective bidders of the technology. Once a process licensor has been selected, work on the scope definition phase can begin. The scope definition phase involves adding details down to the work package level, based on the DBM and basic engineering package (BEP). A comprehensive WBS is crucial to ensure that everything included in the project scope is shown clearly, and anything not shown is out of project scope along with any implied activities. The WBS developed during the scope definition phase is expanded to show detailed activities, and this phase culminates in the award of the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract. Detailed engineering design is accomplished as part of the EPC contract.
The scope planning process should include the following steps:
- Identify the project objectives. What are the goals of the project? What do you want to achieve?
- Define the deliverables. What are the tangible products or services that will be produced by the project?
- Identify the project constraints. What are the limitations on the project, such as time, budget, and resources?
- Develop a work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS is a hierarchical decomposition of the project into smaller, more manageable tasks.
- Validate the scope. Once the scope has been defined, it is important to get agreement from all stakeholders that the scope is correct.
Scope definition is the process of refining the scope of a project. This is done by adding more detail to the WBS and by identifying any potential risks or issues. The scope definition process should include the following steps:
- Review the WBS. Make sure that the WBS is complete and accurate.
- Identify risks and issues. What are the potential risks and issues that could impact the project scope?
- Develop a contingency plan. What steps can be taken to mitigate the risks and issues?
- Get agreement from stakeholders. Once the scope has been defined, it is important to get agreement from all stakeholders that the scope is correct.
The scope planning and definition processes are essential for managing the scope of a project. By carefully defining the scope of the project, you can help to ensure that the project stays on track and meets its objectives.
Scope verification is the process of ensuring that the project scope is complete, accurate, and meets the needs of the stakeholders. It is performed by comparing the project scope statement to the actual work that has been completed.
Where the scope verification process is connected to the previous two processes, scope planning and scope definition, and involves checking all design and engineering deliverables required as part of those phases. It should be noted that this verification process does not have to wait until after completion of its predecessors. It is a continuous process that starts almost concurrently with its predecessors. Verification that work has been carried out in accordance with applicable regulations and design documents is also required for progress measurement. Earned value management techniques are frequently used for measuring progress of a project and comparing actual verified work performed against the scheduled work that was planned to be performed at a given time interval and comparing the actual cost incurred versus budgeted cost can help forecast any schedule or cost overruns. Under-par performance on schedule and cost would soon incur schedule and cost overruns that are irreversible. The key outputs of this process are procurement and construction.
The scope verification process typically includes the following steps:
- Review the project scope statement. This document defines the work that is included in the project and the work that is excluded.
- Inspect the work that has been completed. This includes reviewing the deliverables, such as documents, reports, and software.
- Interview the stakeholders. This includes the project team, the customer, and other interested parties.
- Identify any deviations from the project scope. This includes any changes that have been made to the scope statement or any work that has been completed that is not included in the scope statement.
- Resolve any deviations from the project scope. This may involve making changes to the project scope statement, the work that has been completed, or the expectations of the stakeholders.
Scope verification is an important process for ensuring that the project is completed as planned. By verifying the project scope, you can help to prevent scope creep, which is the uncontrolled growth of the project scope.
Here the scope verification process is described as being intricately connected to the scope planning and definition processes. This is because the scope verification process is used to verify the work that has been done as part of those processes. The scope verification process also provides feedback to the scope planning and definition processes, which can help to improve the accuracy and completeness of the project scope.
Scope Change Control
Scope change control is the process of managing changes to the project scope. It is important to have a formal process for managing scope changes in order to prevent scope creep, which is the uncontrolled growth of the project scope.
The scope change control process typically includes the following steps:
- Identify the change. The first step is to identify the change that has been requested. This may be done by the project manager, the project team, or the stakeholders.
- Evaluate the change. The next step is to evaluate the change to determine its impact on the project. This includes the impact on the schedule, the budget, and the quality of the project.
- Approve or reject the change. The final step is to approve or reject the change. This decision should be made by the project manager, in consultation with the project team and the stakeholders.
If the change is approved, it is important to document the change and to update the project plan accordingly. This will help to ensure that the project remains on track and that the scope creep is controlled.
For managing scope changes effectively:
- Have a clear and concise scope statement. The scope statement should define the work that is included in the project and the work that is excluded. This will help to prevent scope creep from happening in the first place.
- Use a formal change control process. This will help to ensure that all changes to the scope are documented and approved before they are implemented.
- Communicate changes effectively to all stakeholders. This will help to ensure that everyone is aware of the changes and that they can plan accordingly.
- Be proactive in managing changes. Don't wait for changes to come to you. Be proactive in identifying and managing changes as early as possible.
We have mentioned that scope change is an inevitable reality for any project. This is true, but it is important to manage scope changes carefully in order to prevent scope creep. By having a formal process for managing scope changes, you can help to ensure that the project remains on track and that the scope creep is controlled.
FANGs framework for scope management
The FANGs framework for scope management provides a more comprehensive view of what comprises the project scope, and allows project managers to manage the scope more effectively to control project costs.
Functionality refers to the specific features, functionalities, and outputs that the project is set to deliver to meet the objectives and requirements of the stakeholders.
Activities refer to the series of tasks and activities required to complete the project, from initial planning to final delivery.
Non-functional requirements relate to the quality criteria and performance indicators that the project must meet, such as safety, reliability, usability, and maintainability.
Governance refers to the processes and procedures that are used to manage the project. This includes things like change management, risk management, and quality assurance.
For managing the scope of a project:
- Get buy-in from all stakeholders at the beginning of the project. This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page about the project's scope.
- Document the project's scope in a clear and concise way. This will help to avoid misunderstandings and scope creep.
- Manage changes to the project's scope carefully. Any changes should be approved by the project's stakeholders before they are implemented.
- Monitor the project's scope throughout the project. This will help to identify any potential problems early on.
Lastly, goals refer to the overall aim or objective of the project, such as improving customer satisfaction, increasing efficiency, or reducing costs.
Effective scope management using the FANGs framework requires that the project manager take a proactive approach to managing change, engage stakeholders in regular review and feedback, and ensure that the project team understands the scope and objectives of the project. By doing this, the project manager can identify potential scope creep, prevent budget overruns, and ensure that the project delivers the expected results within the agreed-upon scope.
Effective scope management starts with a clearly defined project scope statement. The scope statement should outline what’s included and excluded from the project, as well as the deliverables and objectives that must be achieved. It’s important to have a realistic and achievable scope statement that’s agreed upon by all stakeholders before the project begins.
Once the project is underway, it’s important to track scope changes and their impact on the project. Project managers should establish a change control process that defines how scope changes will be evaluated, approved, and implemented. This process should involve all stakeholders and ensure that any changes are aligned with the project goals and objectives.
It’s also important to communicate scope changes to all stakeholders in a timely and transparent manner. This builds trust and promotes collaboration among team members. Stakeholders should be kept informed of any changes that impact the project’s schedule, cost, or quality. This helps stakeholders to adjust their expectations and make informed decisions that support the project’s success.
In summary, effective scope management is crucial for project success. Project managers must define a realistic and achievable scope statement, establish a change control process, and communicate changes transparently with stakeholders. By doing so, project managers can ensure that the project stays on track and delivers the desired outcomes.