Starting a project without defining its scope is like hunting for crystal skulls in the Kingdom of Akator without Indiana Jones. You end up nowhere despite putting in all the efforts.
The scope management phase is an interesting process that makes your journey to achieve project goals easy and efficient. It enhances your team’s chances of success. But for many, it is still a Vinci Code full of secrets in chambers. So what exactly is the scope management phase? Let us find out.
Project scope management is a set of particular procedures that defines and maps the scope of your project. The techniques involved in it allow project managers to understand the key requirements of a project. They help understand and differentiate between what is required and what is not in achieving a particular project goal. Thus, project scope management is a very important area for all project managers.
So that was about scope management. But what does scope really refer to here? We should know it before jumping to other subjects. Here we go.
In simple words, the scope in terms of a project is a set of project features. All these features are derived from the project’s requirements. All the work that is required to be accomplished to achieve a project’s goal is basically called scope.
There are three key stages of project scope management: planning, controlling, and closing.
This is the foundation. In this stage, a project manager is required to establish what is required is to be done and what is not. Once you have these things in place, the war is half won already.
The next stage of project scope management is controlling. A project manager is required to monitor the progress of the project. He or she focuses on the documentation of all the data and tracking the leads. Approving project changes is also part of this stage.
Okay. The final stage is closing. Herein a project manager evaluates the whole deliverables. Compares the final outcome against the original plan.
The Scope Documentation or Scope Statement
The scope of a project is a set of work that should be done to achieve project goals. A project manager is required to establish what needs to be done and what not in order to accomplish the goal that too within the deadline and allotted budget.
Documentation of the scope is called scope documentation or scope statement. A scope statement generally has information about the role and responsibilities of all team members. It lists all the work that needs to be done to achieve goals. The scope statement has got procedures to approve and disapprove of a particular work.
Tips to execute scope management phase
So you are the Captain America of a project in your office. Your journey to achieving the target can be a tale of surprising and unexplained twists as in movies written by Christopher Nolan. A single mistake will delay the deadline and make your process a hell lot of complicated.
To avoid such circumstances, there are defined processes to execute the scope management phase. Let us find out what they are. Here we go:
Establishing Projects Needs and Requirements
Time has changed. So has technology. Technology has changed the way we pursue our project goals. The modern world has redefined rules of everything and project needs and requirements are no different.
A project manager first defines and establishes project requirements. He or she has an absolute focus on fulfilling these requirements. A project without defined requirements is like a zombie in search of water in some desert. Until you have things you have to do all sorted out, how will you be able to finish a project on time successfully? Establishing project requirement is also about getting rid of things that are unnecessary. If you as a project manager will keep investing time on things that you at the end of the day do not need, you will never be able to meet the deadline. The allocated budget will also keep on changing, which, not to mention is a loss to the company. It will affect the project in the long term. So it is important to first define project requirements. It does not you stray.
Understanding Project Objectives
So you have defined requirements of the project. All seems good now. No. Not until you have taken care of project objectives. Working on a project without understanding its objectives is like Leonard Shelby from Memento on the prowl. It is like firing in the air aimlessly. It is not going to do any good to any body.
The same thing happens when you work on a project aimlessly. Define the objectives of your projects. What is it that you want to achieve from it? Once you have set the objectives, you will now be able to go with the flow of your project requirements. Setting objectives mean that if you have some requirements of a particular kind of stuff, then better get it for you and the team. For example, if you need particular software to execute then you should get it without wasting time. Managing all these resources is part of project objectives. There are so many features and the project manager ensures that all these features are taken are to help achieve the target.
Steps to Define the Scope of a Project
Here in this section are covered steps to define the scope of a project. Let us find out what they are:
- Project objectives
After meeting all the parameters aforementioned, it is now the responsibility of a project manager to ensure that all the required features of the project are in place. He or she should also get rid of all those unnecessary things that actually hamper the progress of a project. Make sure that all you have documented is productive. Anything that you feel is unnecessary should be out of your book.
Apart from that, your project objectives should be in sync with your goals. They all should be realistic otherwise you will only end up committing blunders.
Project Scope Management Processes
Let us find out about the processes of project scope management. Here we go:
Plan Scope Management
This is the first step of the game of thrones. Define your scope of project management. Get rid of things you do not need. It will help streamline things you got to do. If you will keep working on things that do not make sense, you will waste a lot of time. You got to focus on things that are important. It will ensure that you reach your target within the deadline and in the allocated budget.
Planning scope management is a way of documenting the whole strategy of achieving a project goal. It is a clear roadmap. A vision. How will things be achieved is mentioned. It is a kind of a guide for a project manager to understand the whole journey to achieve his or her project goal. A strategy to understand how will things be controlled and in what manner.
This particularly is related to the requirements of team members or all the stakeholders of a project. A project manager should also understand the needs of its team members if he or she wants to achieve project goals on time.
Your team cannot finish a project on its own. It needs a variety of resources to achieve targets. And being a project manager, it is your responsibility to arrange them all. Another aspect of this is to provide tools and stuff to team members to help them study what are the requirements of the projects.
Once you have the requirements of the project clear, you can steer the project smartly without any odds. Collecting requirements to fulfill a project on time also reduces the chances of any risk. You as a project manager has a clear roadmap…a a clear vision. You know what needs to be done to achieve the target. Thus, the whole process makes your life stress free.
Scope defining in simple words is detailed information about the project of what it can achieve and what it cannot achieve. It is a written guide for a project manager to know the major deliverables of the project. A project manager can review this information and even study at any stage of the project to achieve targets or plan new strategies. It also states the requirements of all the stakeholders.
This way defining scope makes the job easier for a project manager. He or she can study this if they are experiencing any type of issue in the middle of the project. The information helps a lot.
Creating Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
WBS is a very important aspect of scope project management. A project manager without this important element will not be able to deliver his or her best. If you as a project manager want to make accurate plans, then you got to have WBS in place. But what really is this thing? Let us find out.
WBS is a way of breaking down a high-level scope into small units in a way that they are easy to handle and work. These small units of scopes are called work packages.
Validate scope is something that takes place at the end of every project. It is actually a validation of the final by project customers. This happens when the project customers have finally accepted all the deliverables. At the end of the project, customers give their feedback about the product. Further chances are made accordingly.
This is a very important element of scope project management. Control scope allows a project manager to monitor the progress of the project and also track changes.
With the help of these, a project manager is able to drive the project smoothly without any odds. It is a proactive approach to detect an issue in a project. Identifying an issue before it becomes a problem is an ideal thing.
Common Issues One May Face While Defining Scope
Ambiguity: With so many things described in scope, it is bound to get a bit complicated at the end. So to crack this Da Vinci ambiguity, we must write scope very clearly and in the simplest way possible.
Incomplete Scope: It is quite common to witness incomplete scopes. They create confusion. You might not be able to understand them properly. So to avoid them make sure that you write scopes complete and accurate.
It is one of the most common issues with any scope of project management. Late deliveries and slow pace in achieving a goal are two common problems with it. To avoid this kind of a thing to hamper your goals, you should have your scope unaltered for the duration of your project. Has your scope finalized when working on a project? It will help you in the long term.
The scope should be made keeping future requirements in mind. You should be collaborative. It should be shareable to all stakeholders of the project at any stage. This will help all stakeholders be on one page. When they are all on the same page, then that means there is no confusion. A clear vision helps the team perform better.
You as a project manager must understand that an un-collaborative scope only leads to misinterpretation, which you can’t afford at any stage.
Those who think implementing scope project management is tough, they are absolutely wrong. All it requires is some time, patience, and effort. The journey afterward is smooth and streamlined. If you too are planning to have scope project management implemented, do not think twice. It is something that will only add value to your overall work performance. So it is something worth investing. It allows you to deliver goals on time without any difficulty.
It allows a project manager to understand the soul of the project. Once you have control of everything, you are able to achieve your goals on time.
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