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Project Scope Management
Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Project Scope Management includes the processes and the procedures that are essential to ensure that the project includes all the work required for the successful completion of the project on time. The scope management plan defines how the scope of the project will be attained successfully and how the changes can be integrated successfully in the project.

Project Scope Management includes the processes and the procedures that are essential to ensure that the project includes all the work required for the successful completion of the project on time. It is basically confined with answering the questions: What is required for the project and what not?

An effective project scope management includes four steps:


It is the first step of the project scope management that ensures the organisation for beginning the next phase of the project.

Scope Planning:

This includes the developing and documentation of an appropriate project scope statement based on the future project decisions.


This process involves subdividing the major project deliverable into smaller and more manageable components.

Scope Verification:

In this step the scope of the project finally gets the formal acceptance.

Scope Change Control:

In this phase, any changes in the project scope during the entire life cycle of the project are controlled.

Project Scope management is an essential part of project management and has a broader sense. So, lets discuss project scope management briefly:


It is the process that recognizes the need that whether the new project should started or the existing project should continue to its next phase. Initiation of a project scope links the project with the current work of the organisation. However, in most of the organisations a project is not formally initiated until a feasibility study, a preliminary plan, or some other analysis has been done separately. Authorization of a project takes place keeping in mind the various aspects such as a market demand, a business need, a customer request, technological advancement or a legal requirement. These aspects can be seen as a problems, opportunities, or business requirements for n organisation.

Inputs to Initiation:

Product description:

The product description defines the characteristics and properties of the product or service for which the project has been undertaken in a written format. It contains the less details of the early phase but more for the later stage as the product characteristic enhances with each phase. An effective product description includes the relation between the product and the services and business needs to be met with the product. A product description varies from each product and has detailed information to support the project planning.

Strategic plan:

An effective strategic plan is very essential for making decision for the selection of a project. The project should be supportive enough to meet the organisational goal.

Project selection criteria:

Project selection criteria are basically defined in terms of product or service of the project and contains all the possible management concerns in terms of financial return, market share, public perceptions, etc.

Historical information:

Historical information about both the results of previous project selection decisions and previous project performance can be taken into consideration that can prove very helpful for the approval of the initiation.

Tools and Techniques for Initiation

Project selection methods: Project selection methods are mainly divided into two broad categories:

Benefit measurement methods: This includes mainly comparative approaches, scoring models, benefit contribution and economic models.

Constrained optimization methods: This method mainly uses mathematical models using linear, nonlinear, dynamic, integer, and multi-objective programming algorithms.

These methods are generally the decision models that use various tools such as decision trees, forced choice, and many more. In addition to that certain specialized tools such as Analytic Hierarchy Process and Logical Framework Analysis can also be used.

Expert judgment: Expert judgment is quite effective for accessing the inputs of this process. The suggestions can be taken from any individual or a group of individuals having specialized knowledge or training that may include consultants, Professional and technical associations or Industry groups.

Outputs from Initiation

Project charter:

A project charter is a document that authorizes the existence of a project formally. A project charter should include the business need for which the project has been undertaken and the product description.

The project charter is issued by a manager external to the project and should resemble the needs of the project. It provides the project manager with the authority to utilize the organizational resources to carry forward the project activities further. In case the project is performed as a contract, an undersigned contract will work as a project charter for the seller.

Project manager identified/assigned:

A project manager should be identified as early as possible depending upon the feasibility of the project. It is recommended to assign a project manager before the project planning prior to the execution of the project plan.Constraints: Constraints are factors limiting the options for the project management team such scope, staffing and scheduling.


Assumptions are the considerations made for planning the project and believed to be true, real, or certain. Assumptions involve a degree of risk.

Scope planning

Scope planning is the process of developing and documentation of a scope statement in a written format to make the future decisions of the project using it as criteria for determining whether the project has been completed successfully or not.

The scope statement is the basis of the agreement between the project developers and the customers by identifying the objective of the project and its specifications.
However, if all the contents of a scope statement such as proposal request, project charter and others are already available, the process may take a little more time for its documentation.

Inputs to Scope Planning

Product description: Product description defines the details of the specifications and characteristics of the product or services for which the project has been taken.

Project charter:

Project charter provides the project manager with the authority to use the organisational resources to go ahead with the project by accepting the project formally.


Constraints are the various factors that limit the options of the project management team with respect to scope, staffing and scheduling.


Assumptions are the various factors that are considered to be true and real for the planning of the project.

Tools and Techniques for Scope Planning

Product analysis:

Product analysis includes the development of a better understanding for the product for which the project has been undertaken. An effective product analysis is very essential for a project and includes various tools such as systems engineering, value engineering, value analysis, function analysis, and quality function deployment.

Cost-benefit analysis:

Cost-benefit analysis involves the estimation of the tangible and intangible costs and the benefits of different project alternatives. These financial measures are then used to calculate the return on investment or payback period to measure the relative need for the identified alternatives.

Alternatives identification:

This is the most effective tool used for generating different approaches to a project. It includes various management techniques such as brainstorming and lateral thinking.

Expert judgment:

Expert judgment is quite beneficial in which the suggestions are taken from an expert or a group of experts who have adequate knowledge or especially trained.

Outputs from Scope Planning

Scope statement:

A scope statement is a written statement that provides the project developers with a basis for taking future project decisions and building a common understanding of the project scope with the stakeholders. Moreover, with the progress of the project, the project statement should be revised and refined to overcome any problem. The scope statement should include other documents either directly or by reference:

  • Project justification: Whether the execution of the project has justified the need of the business or not. It provides the basis for evaluating future trade-offs.
  • Project product: A summary of the characteristics and specifications of the product is provided.
  • Project deliverables: A list of the possible outcomes after the completion of the project is available which denotes the successful completion of the project.
  • Project objectives: Whether the project has been successful as per the objective set or not. The project objective includes cost, schedule, and quality measures. A quantifiable attribute must be set to measure the absolute return of the project. In some cases the project deliverables are also referred as project objectives and the project objectives are called critical success factors.
  • Supporting detail: Supporting detail for the scope statement should be properly documented and organized so that other project management processes can use it. In addition to that, the supporting details should contain all the assumptions identified in a written format.

Scope management plan:

Scope management plan describes how to manage the scope of the project and the scope changes effectively in a project. It should describe the major possibilities of the changes such as how likely is it to change, how frequently, and by how much? In addition to that, a scope management plan should clearly mention about the process of identification and classification of scope changes. A scope management plan can be formal or informal, highly detailed or broadly framed based on the requirement and specifications of the project.

Scope definition

Scope definition is the process of subdividing the major project deliverables with the reference of the scope statement into smaller, more manageable components to enhance the accuracy of cost, time, and resource estimates, decide a definite project baseline to measure and control the project and to assign the responsibilities to the project members more precisely. If the scope definition is not very clear the expected cost for project completion may go high due to inevitable changes that can interrupt to the rhythm of the project and thus affecting the project efficiency and effectiveness.

Inputs to Scope Definition

Scope statement:

It includes a written form of scope planning and all the aspects of the project. A scope statement is quite essential for every project as well as sub projects.


Constraints are the various factors that limit the options of the project management team with respect to scope, staffing and scheduling. Its an important consideration during the scope definition.


Assumptions are the various considerations that are assumed to be true and real for the planning of the project.

Other planning outputs:

The outputs of the procedures in other knowledge areas should be taken into consideration for possible impact on project scope definition.

Historical information:

Historical information is the information available from the previous projects that can be useful for an effective scope definition. Information about errors and omissions on previous projects is highly beneficial to avoid such occurrences further.

Tools and Techniques for Scope Definition

Work breakdown structure templates:

A work breakdown structure or WBS obtained from the earlier projects can be used as a reference for a new project to avoid errors. Though, most of the projects are different in nature still WBS can be used as a case study especially for the projects of similar kind.


Decomposition is the process in which the project deliverables are subdivided into smaller and more precise components until they are able to support the future project activities planning, executing, controlling and closing.

Outputs from Scope Definition

Work breakdown structure:

A work breakdown structure is the classification of the project components organizes and defines the total scope of the project. If a work item is not under the domain of WBS, it is considered outside the scope of the project. A WBS is commonly represented in chart form and every item of a WBS is assigned a unique identifier and the collection of these identifiers is called code of accounts. The items that re placed at the lowest level in a WBS are called work packages that can be further decomposed as activity definition.

Moreover, work element descriptions can also be found in a WBS dictionary, which includes work package descriptions in addition to the information such as schedule dates, cost budgets, and staff assignments.

Scope verification

Scope verification is the process of getting the formal acceptance of the project scope from the stakeholders that includes sponsor, client, customer, etc. The process requires the complete evaluation of work products and results to assure that everything has been done satisfactorily. In case the project is terminated before its completion than the scope verification be done for the extent of the project that has been completed.

Inputs to Scope Verification

Work results:

What amount of the work has been completed and what cost has been incurred are included in this.

Product documentation

Documents produced in favour of the project's products that must be available for review. Product documentation should include plans, specifications, technical documentation, drawings, etc.

Tools and Techniques for Scope Verification


Inspection involves activities like measuring, examining, and testing of the products in order to know the relevance of the result with the requirements. Inspection may be referred as reviews, product reviews, audits, and walk-through.

Outputs from Scope Verification

Formal acceptance:

Documentation that the stakeholders has accepted formally for the product of the project or phase must be properly prepared and presented.

Scope change control

Scope change control involves influencing the various factors that can lead to scope change, so that the changes are positive, determining that a scope change that has occurred, and managing the actual changes when and if they occur. Scope change control should be properly integrated with the other control methods such as time control, cost control, quality control, and others.

Inputs to Scope Change Control

Work breakdown structure:

The Work breakdown structure in context to scope changes the project's scope baseline.

Performance reports:

Performance reports provides the adequate information about the work that has been completed and left. In addition to that, it also informs the project team for the possible problems in the upcoming future.

Change requests:

Change request can be possible in many forms including oral or written, direct or indirect, externally or internally, and mandatory or optional and may require the expansion or shrinking of the scope as per the need.

Moreover, a change request could be a result of many factors such as an external event, an error or omission at the time of defining the product scope and project scope or a value-adding change.

Scope management plan:

The scope management plan defines how the scope of the project will be attained successfully and how the changes can be integrated successfully in the project.

Outputs from Scope Change Control

Scope changes:

Scope change is the modifications are made in the project scope as per the approved WBS. This may include changes in cost, time, quality, or other project objectives. Scope changes are applied to the planning process, technical and planning Documents are updated as per the need and informed to the stakeholders.

Corrective action:

Corrective action is the corrective measures that can be taken in the future projects to run the project successfully as per the project plan.

Lessons learned: The causes of variances, the reasons for the corrective action selected, and other types of lessons learned from scope change control should be properly documented in order to make it available as a historical database for utilizing in the future projects.


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