Project scope is one facet of planning, where goals are precisely defined and communicated to all the participants.
Imagine you have spared a budgeted amount for going on your dream tour. Is that all you require? Of course not. That was only one part of your planning. You need to be completely equipped with knowledge and resources to execute and enjoy your trip.
It includes the duration of your stay, what essentials you would require to pack in your luggage, what can be put in hand carry, means of travel during trip, reservations of the hotel room, cuisine that you can choose to eat, and of course the breakup of your budget eat, etc.
And it’s not about you only; all people associated with this plan play an essential part involving your trip organizer, hotel manager, travel guide, etc. Lack of responsibility from one role player will affect another and eventually on the project they are working. Proper integration of work responsibilities and deliverability is the key to attain planned or desired outcomes.
Similar happens when an organization has a project to execute. It needs proper preparation and project scope to ensure hassle-free implementation of the plan and avoid any anomaly during its process.
Project scope includes the arrangement of required expertise, timeline, resources, and approaching goals with a clear picture of the purpose behind it.
Your project may be of product designing, making a documentary, writing a book, etc. Even arranging a birthday party or a marriage is a project. Nothing is possible without a collective effort. Nobody is dependent enough to address all his needs. As you cannot produce, make, or arrange all your essentials by yourself. We all are interdependent on one another.
It is always better, or let’s say, essential to have a Scope statement in hand. To keep a check and have a guiding route towards your desired destination. One must consider having realistic directions and achievable outcomes.
- A scope statement is a document that has complete details of a project, i.e., the purpose of the project, stakeholders involved with their roles, length of the project, budget, process breakups, and what resources will be essential. It is often called SoW means a statement of work.
One of my teachers taught me; If you are not sure what you want, you must consider what you DO NOT want.
Statement of work also includes estimated wastage and cost associates with it. These wastages may be the cause of insufficient resources, lack of skilled staff, time constraints. Elements that are not included in the work process are also mentioned in SoW; those elements are stated as Scope exclusions. Along with details, SoW is followed by written consent from all members of a project.
Steps Involved in Defining Project Scope
A well-stated step for the scope of work serves as a guideline to keep track of activities during the process and avoid wastages or distractions. Let’s have a look at these steps:
Identify project needs
Nobody is interested in finding an AC remote; what drives one to look for it is the ambiance we will have with cooling comfort. It is a perk of knowing your need and starting with an end in mind. It might sound like an upside-down approach, but that’s how a project manager takes things. A leader describes; what he would want as a final project from his staff, what needs, and expectations are associated with that product to deliver.
For instance, the Manager of the procurement department needs software that could keep records of inventory, including what and how much raw materials requires, how much of it has been put to work, the quantity of end product, how much order has been arrived, dispatched, etc. The software developer will identify these needs before starting to develop software that can address his condition.
Outline project goals
This step is like having a frame of your portrait. Details of the task must be defined under that frame. It helps project managers to draw a concise roadmap within which their team members will play their part of responsibilities. On the other hand, human resources will have a clear image of what product is expected.
Outlining goals refers to a definite and realistic goal with measurable results and the time needed to make it deliverable.
Consider project limitations
Comparing results at the end of the project needs some defined parameters ow how are you going to differentiate between estimated and actual results. These limitations may be of time, resources, or skills. A project manager may realize at a particular stage that additional expertise is needed, which was not previously identified or defined during project scope, i.e., project creeps.
Project creep is another essential term used during the execution of the project, which means elements that were not predicated during project scope but have arise during the process. One way to handle these is to analyze your strengths which may be utilized to overcome those hurdles or weaknesses, i.e., SWOT analyses.
Define project budget
Budgeting is the most commonly used term, be it everyday life or business, the amount of money for a specific task. Budgeting and breaking it up for different required essentials for a project is crucial. Project budgeting is the aspect that stimulates your decision and choices on resources for allotting on a project.
Of course, you are investing your money and efforts into something to get certain returns on what is the use of wasting your time on it.
Craft a project statement
Having something in Black and white makes sense in numerous ways, even after completing a project. The success stories are told this way, right! That what they started with (maybe with nothing or very little) and what they have achieved.
Word crafting is used here as this statement should be inspiring enough to keep all stakeholders moving and works as the synergy that makes one and one resulting in eleven instead of two.
Importance of Defining Project Scope
A precisely defined project scope helps the project manager to divide work responsibilities, accumulate and allot skills effectively. Project scope management not only makes expected results deliverable but keeping the stakes of all stakeholders safe.
It is similar to brightening up the room to avoid shooting in the dark. Project scope serves as a guide to keep up with the work process without getting off track and manage limitations accordingly. It helps measure and control results by carefully using labour and resources within a defined budget and time.
Having Project scope sorted is like having a boundary to play within. A project manager communicated these boundaries to its staff and managed them, and managed other resources to produce an optimum result with the least wastage. Handling the dynamics of everyday challenges is one crucial part of the project scope.
Tips for Creating Project Scope
Starting with an end in mind, it a 2nd habit defined by Franklin Covey, a great author of the book 7-habits of highly effective people. When you have a clear vision of your end product, it helps you plan and execute operations accordingly.
Plan for a realistic outcome. If you have something in mind that is not practically possible to achieve, it results in a total loss. Communicate a deliverable result to attain to your subordinates, make them mindful of the quality of the process to be contributed and expectation from clients to be met.
Communicating limitations is critical; let the team involved in a project know what NOT to do. We understood the project scope to help them address any change or constraints during work processes effectively. Being in the budget is one crucial part that will affect a manager’s decision and choices for resources and skilled staff.
One proactive way while defining project scope is to keep some budget spare in project creep or extra budget. This step will save an organization from wasting time or arranging funds at the eleventh hour and disturbing the process.
Take some time for having a project scope with a forecast that dresses the dynamic of changing world in productive ways. Be aware of scope creep, know your weakness and threats to be handled by your strengths and opportunities. Knowing yourself makes you empowered to make the right and timely decisions within a reasonable timeline.
Project scope is one step of planning that enables a project manager to concretely define all the aspects involved and steps to start and execute work operation in optimum ways. It involved dividing and breaking up your labour, skills, and resources to obtain results that meet client expectations and organizational revenues.
The project scope statement is a written version of this planning. A project manager is then responsible for addressing challenges and scope creep to avoid glitches and waste. Project scope serves as a guideline that enables a team to work for a specific and results-oriented task within a given budget, timeline, and boundaries.
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