The scope management process defines the work required for the project and makes sure that all that work, and only that work, is completed. Scope management is a very important project manager duty. Scope is one of the three in the triple constraint triangle: time, cost, and scope.
Scope is closely associated with project quality. In fact some triple constraint triangle definitions make quality the third constraint, instead of scope. But quality is better placed in the center of the triangle as it affects all three: time, cost, and scope. The scope management process consists of the following efforts:
- Plan scope management
- Collect requirements
- Define scope
- Create Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
- Validate scope
- Control scope
A significant portion of project planning is devoted to scope management, in particular: plan scope management, collect requirements, define scope, and create WBS. Validate and control scope are two critical components of the monitoring and controlling project management processing.
This article describes the process of defining and controlling project related scope.
Plan Scope Management
The plan scope management effort actually has two parts: scope management plan and requirements management plan.
The scope management plan has an iterative development process. Later parts of project planning, such as plan risk, may result in the insertion of additional scope, which causes changes to the scope management plan. The scope management plan consists of three parts: how scope will be planned, executed, and controlled. The first part determines how scope will be defined. Later, after project planning, the project manager decides how scope will be executed and controlled.
The requirements management plan describes methods to identify requirements and, additionally, how to manage and track changes to them.
A complete or exhaustive requirements document includes input from all stakeholders, not just the person assigned responsibility for the project. Also consider historical records and lessons learned from other similar projects. There are numerous possible requirements data-gathering techniques including:
- Interviews – interview stakeholders to obtain their expertise on specific product and/or project work elements.
- Focus Groups – Gather stakeholders to discuss specific product or project requirements. Group conversation and ideas are guided by the help of a moderator.
- Facilitated Workshops – These workshops help consider differing perspectives (e.g. product developers and maintainers versus end product users). Stakeholders develop their personal role, goal, and business motivation related product story.
- Other group creativity techniques:
- Brainstorming – The purpose in brainstorming meetings is to build on each other’s ideas.
- Nominal Group Technique – Most useful brainstorming ideas are ranked in order of importance.
- Multi-criteria Decision Analysis – Stakeholders quantify requirements using a decision matrix including, possibly, the following items: time estimates, risk levels, cost estimates, benefits.
- Mind maps – A diagram on connected ideas to help record information.
- Affinity Diagrams – Ideas grouped by similarity and titled. Common requirements categories include: stakeholder, product, project, quality, and technical.
- Questionnaires and surveys elicit requirements from large groups.
- Observation – Possibly job shadowing product customers.
- Prototypes – Model proposed product and use to illicit stakeholder feedback.
- Benchmarking – Compare performance against competitors.
Requirements Documentation – Document collected requirements. Also, ask stakeholders how to meet their requirement. Documenting this acceptance criteria helps ensure planned and executed work meets the requirements.
The define scope process identifies not only what is included in the project and deliverables, but also what is not included. The define scope process gathers information from scope management plan, requirements documentation, project charter, risks assessment, and constraints to define the project and product scope. Objectives and the customer’s product description are turned into tangible deliverables.
The project Scope Statement is the primary output of define scope. It defines approved project and product scope. Also, it specifically identifies unapproved customer requirement requests. The project scope statement may include: product scope, project scope, deliverables, acceptance criteria, not included related elements, assumptions, and constraints.
The WBS is a product-based hierarchical decomposition of all the project deliverables. The goal is to decompose deliverables into smaller more manageable work packages.
Validating scope involves frequent planned meetings with the customer or sponsor to have them formally approve deliverables.
The control scope process assesses progress against the scope baseline and manages scope baseline changes. The key word here is not manage, but control; you should not be easily influenced to insert or make scope changes. You should also make certain all scope change requests follow the approved change management process.
Well managed projects have both a scope management plan and a requirements management plan. Collecting requirements is a major project management effort. The output of collect requirements is the requirements documentation. The stakeholder requirements documentation should include acceptance criteria. Good project managers balance requirements by ranking them and resolving conflicts between them.
Defining scope comprises both what is included and not included in the project. The WBS is a complete hierarchical decomposition of all project deliverables into small manageable work packages. The project manager validates scope in the monitoring and controlling process group. Deliverables should be formally approved by the customer or sponsor. Adroit project managers resist change in an effort to control scope. Scope change requests must follow approved change management control procedures.
For a more detailed review of Scope Management, refer to Rita Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep, Eighth Edition.