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Improve Project Success with Better Scope Management

More often than not, organizations lack standardized forms or templates for scope management. Scope management is critical in avoiding project risks and failure. More and more project leaders are turning to project management software and better work management practices to help them better manage scope through all phases of the project.

Project Scope Management describes the processes required to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully.  Per the PMBOK Guide, scope management includes the following elements: scope planning, scope definition, WBS creation, scope verification, and scope change control.  How many times have you worked on a project and the end result is aligned exactly to the original requirements?  My guess would be, not that many.  Giving your customers what they ask for is essential… no more, no less.  That being said, scope creep happens, so know how to manage it!

What does good scope management consist of? 

  • Global Visibility of Work Performance:
    • Keep an eye on all work that affects your project’s bottom line
    • Keep all stakeholders up to date with current project and task status
    • Ensure all stakeholders can access their work in one location
  • Implement Change Control:
    • Set up a change control process to ensure all changes go through the proper governance for approval or dismissal
    • Set up workflow where needed to streamline these changes for faster turn times and process automation
    • Leverage a scenario modeling tool to easily visualize how the proposed scope change affects your current workload and resources
  • Make Sure All Changes Align to the Project Objectives:
    • Ask yourself…Does the requested change align with the project objectives?  Is the new change required to meet the needs of the customer and ensure project success? 
    • Control the project; prevent unneccessary work and don’t add work simply because someone came up with a cool idea
  • Establish a Communication Plan
    • Set up a portal for team collaboration and communication
    • Allow team members the ability to work the way that works best for them; don’t enforce how the work gets done, just ensure that it does
    • Encourage team knowledge share.  This will foster a positive team work environment and will empower productivity.  You never know when experts will appear from no where.  Give people the grounds to communicate

For detailed scope management, follow best practices and align with the steps below:

1. Scope Planning:

  • How will I manage scope of this project?
  • What tools should I use to ensure the requirements of the project are met?
  • How will I measure performance of this project?
  • What factors must I consider regarding internal process and governance?

2. Scope Definition:

  • What is and is not included in this project?
  • What are the needs or requirements of the stakeholders?
  • What pain points are being resolved with the product? 
  • What are the tangible deliverables that will address the pain points?
  • What constraints must be considered in the project?
  • What are the project assumptions?

3. Create Work Breakdown Structure (WBS):

  • What deliverables are needed for this project?
  • How can I break those deliverables down into manageable peices of work?
  • What tool can I use to define my WBS?
  • Ensure all work items can be interpreted clearly by your resources, don’t allow for misinterpretation
  • Who will do the work?
  • Have all requirements been accommodated in my WBS?

4. Scope Verification:

  • Run project reports to measure completed project work against project plans and scope
  • Communicate with project stakeholders about project status
  • Ensure all work delivered and plan aligns with the original scope definition plus all changes that have been approved through the change management process
  • Ensure all work delivered meets quality standards

5. Scope Control:

  • Prevent scope creep by implementing change control processes
  • Evaluate potential impact of all requested scope changes to make the proper decisions
  • Be proactive