Scope management is a key part of project management, which saves resources and increases efficiency. After you receive the project idea (brief) take time to agree the scope for the project. This will avoid confusion and save valuable time.
In project management there are two types of scope:
Project Scope – This is “what” needs to be done for the project to achieve its objectives. The project scope needs to be defined carefully and clearly. A good project scope will cover everything that needs to be done and excludes everything that is unnecessary.
Product Scope – This is “what” does the product or service being designed need to do or offer. What is the specification?
Project managers should use the project scope and product scope to write the project plan. Both the project plan and project scopes should be signed off by the person (s) requesting the project.
Project teams should refer back to the project scope and product scope throughout the project period to make sure the project covers everything it should and that the team are not doing additional work.
Scope (Change Control)
Project teams need to agree a process for changing the scope so that any changes are properly considered and only made when necessary for the project’s success. This process is known as scope control and promotes efficiency.
Scope verification and control are needed to stop scope creep. Scope creep is when the project work has increased unnecessarily and without official agreement or authorisation. A number of external factors such as customer demands can add to the pressure for scope creep. Scope creep will affect the project’s success especially if the original project budget, resources and deadlines have not increased.
The job of the project manager is to ensure that the project has a clear scope. Once the scope has been agreed a project manager’s job is to manage the project in line with the scope. Throughout the project they will also need to identify when the scope should be changed (to reflect a change in circumstances) and when it should not (to prevent scope creep) be changed.