In project management, the first step of project initiation is to define the scope of the project. Defining project scope is a part of project planning which involves the determination and documentation of various project goals such as tasks, deliverables, functions and features. The project scope needs to be well-defined and detailed in nature. Also, it should be approved by all stakeholders. Project Scope is crucial to project management since it can greatly impact the schedule or cost (or both) of a project. Only after defining project scope, the project manager will be able to allocate tasks and direct his team to complete the project successfully.
Mentioned below are the steps for defining project scope:-
1. Define the project objectives:-
The objective or goal of a project could be anything- creating a new product, creating a new service model for an organization, developing new software, etc. But it is the responsibility of the project manager to adequately define the project objectives so that his team delivers something that matches the client’s requirements. Identifying project objectives is critical to define the project scope since they help the project manager to decide what project methodologies have to be applied to the project to make it a success.
2. Define the process requirements:-
It is essential that the project manager understands the process requirements as it helps in defining the project scope. The stakeholders, senior management and project team members need to have a common understanding about what has to be included in or excluded from, a project. This will make it clear to all parties concerned as to what product or service will be delivered.
3. Involve the correct stakeholders:-
For a project to become a success, the stakeholders who are commissioning the project have to be closely involved at various stages of the project. If the stakeholders do not actively participate in every aspect of the project, then the project manager will have to lead making assumptions. This can add to confusion and even lead to scope creeps.
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4. Identify the limitations:-
Rather than focusing on what is out-of-scope for a project, it is essential to document what exactly will be delivered as an outcome. However, it is also important to make known what will not be done; otherwise certain tasks will be executed on assumptions and cause time and cost overrun.
5. Change Management:-
It is natural for parts of any large project to change along the way. Though it is advisable to avoid scope creep, there are times when a particular part of a large project may require change due to the dynamic nature of business. In order to avoid disagreements and changes to a project’s scope by all stakeholders, it is advisable to have a strict change management process in place. Once the project scope has been defined, it should not be changed without the proper change management functions taking place, at which point appropriate action can be made to address the moving project necessities.
For a project manager, defining the project scope will give a sense of purpose when executing the project. Understanding the project scope helps in dealing with challenges and risks. Moreover, the project scope acts as a foundation on which the schedule, budget and resources of the project are planned. A well-defined scope is the secret to keep the project under control and avoid scope creeps which will lead to successful closure of the project.