Learn the Project Scope Management Process

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Project scope management is what you do to make sure that your project includes all the work relevant to achieving the project’s objectives (and not anything else). It’s around controlling what’s included in the project and what isn’t.

This article looks at the project scope management knowledge area from A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Fifth Edition. This isn’t the only way to define project scope management, but it’s a good starting point and will be very helpful to you if you are working towards your PMP® certification.

Project Scope Management Processes

Project scope management in the PMBOK® Guide includes 6 processes. The project scope management processes are:

  1. Plan scope management
  2. Collect requirements
  3. Define scope
  4. Create Work Breakdown Structure
  5. Validate scope
  6. Control scope.

Let’s look at each of those.

Plan Scope Management Process

The point of doing this is to give you a scope management plan at the end of it. That sets out how you will define, manage, validate and control your project’s scope. Putting the work in up front to define this gives you something to refer to later. You may find that you can use another project’s scope management plan as a starting point, as scope management processes don’t vary wildly between projects once your company has settled on a way of working that is successful for them.

The result of this process is the scope management plan. This is part of your project management plan and includes:

  • How you will prepare a detailed scope statement
  • How you will create your Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) from the scope statement
  • How you are going to maintain and approve that WBS
  • How you will get formal acceptance for the project’s deliverables
  • How you will manage changes to scope.

The document doesn’t have to be incredibly detailed or very formal: it simply has to be fit for purpose.

Collect Requirements Process

In this process, you’ll   work out what your stakeholders want from the project. Once you have outlined your big idea, you need to document the requirements and manage your stakeholders’ expectations. This is important because often what they ask for isn’t realistic or achievable given other project constraints, like cost.

The output of your requirements collection work is a documented set of requirements. This should be as comprehensive as possible and will normally include several categories of requirements such as:

  • Functional and non-functional requirements
  • Stakeholder requirements such as reporting requirements
  • Support and training requirements
  • Business requirements
  • Project requirements such as levels of service or quality

You’ll also document the dependencies, assumptions, and constraints that specifically relate to requirements.

Define Scope Process

Here’s where you take your requirements and turn them into a detailed description of the product or service that your project is going to create. You’ll end up with a project scope statement which you can refer to during the project. It will include a list of what’s in scope and what’s out of scope. That’s important because often people won’t remember what is specifically excluded and come back and ask you to do work on those areas.

Any inclusions will have to go through change control.

Create Work Breakdown Structure Process

This process enables you to turn your list of requirements into a structured vision of what you need to do. The main work here is breaking down big tasks into smaller, manageable chunks.

The result of this process is a WBS. Personally, I don’t use a WBS on my projects, but it can be a very helpful tool. If you don’t think visually, then you can achieve the same result by creating a list.

Validate Scope Process

The Validate Scope process isn’t, as you may think, getting business stakeholders to sign off your WBS. It’s about making sure that you have a process in place for getting sign off for your deliverables when the time comes.

It’s worth putting this structure in place so that you don’t have any questions about who is going to approve a deliverable or what criteria they are going to use to say it is complete.

Once the process is complete, you’ll have accepted deliverables, approved by whoever needs to approve them.

Control Scope Process

The Control Scope process is the last one in the project scope management knowledge area. It relates to making sure that there is effective change control if the scope needs to change. It also covers tracking your project with a ‘scope’ hat on to check that it is going to deliver what you think it will.

These 6 processes make up the project scope management knowledge are in the PMBOK® Guide –Fifth Edition.