When it comes to project planning, defining the project scope is the most critical step. If you start the project without knowing what you are supposed to be delivered to the client and the project boundaries, there is little chance for success. In most instances, you are more likely to fail because of your unorganised approach.
The defined scope of the project is usually included in the contractual agreements between the client and the service provider, via the Statement of Work (SOW). In the project scope definition, all elements within the scope and out of scope are well articulated in order to clearly understand what will be within the control of the project.
Project scoping work can be broken down into 5 stepped components to guide you through the process. These 5 components are project initiation, scope planning, scope definition, scope verification, and scope change control
Projects are initiated when a business need arises. Whenever a need appears, project initiation is a way to evaluate that need and come up with an acceptable solution. A detailed feasibility analysis is the most important output from the initiation phase of scope management. This allows management to give the go-ahead for the project to proceed, or to shelve it
This stage of the scoping process is all about developing an initial Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). A WBS is a results-oriented family tree that captures all the potential work to be done in the project in an organised way. Large complex projects are more easily understood by breaking them into progressively smaller pieces until they are a collection of defined “work packages” that may include a number of tasks. The summary of the WBS at this stage of the project identifies the key deliverables that the project should provide. Without a breakdown, the project would appear too broad and lack the attention to detail of a more defined project.
When the project is about to be funded, there should be a set of defined deliverables and objectives for the project. There can be a high level-scope statement prepared at this stage.
This high-level scope statement can be taken from the initial documents such as the Statement of Work (SOW). In addition to the SOW, you need to use any other relevant document or information to further define the project scope at this level.
Project objectives can be used for defining the project scope. As a matter of fact, there should be one or more deliverables addressing each project objective within the project. By looking at the deliverables, you can actually gauge the project scope.
Once you have successfully defined the scope of the project, you need to get sign-off from the appropriate parties. Without proper sign-off on the scope, the next phases of the project, i.e. requirements gathering, may be compromised.
Since the different components of scope management are aimed at providing a uniform scope throughout the project all of them tend to overlap at times. This is a natural part of the process and because of this, it is possible to observe scope verification many times throughout the process. The purpose is to keep the goals of both parties as close to uniform as possible. This phase is designed to strengthen and reinforce the initial scope definition through feedback.
During any project, scope change is inevitable as two or more parties work towards a goal that satisfies everyone. Because of the potentially disastrous consequences of scope change, whether wanted or unwanted, testing is vital at this point of the process. If during testing, changes are needed there must be supporting documentation. Change control requires some type of formal documentation that provides official statements about any changes in project scope, to guide the process. . A scope change control should be put in place as early as possible to classify the types of requests that may take place during the project. Changes in scope can have a great effect on every element of the process, with the most important being cost. Defining these changes in an orderly fashion will help keep the client involved and ultimately affect the schedule, cost.
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