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Importance of Scope in Project Management
by Arindam Ghosh
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Project scope management is management of the process required to ensure that the project includes all the work required and to complete the project successfully.

·         Scope Planning

·         Scope Definition

·         Create WBS

·         Scope Verification

·         Scope control

Scope Planning

The Project scope management plan describes:

·         How project scope will be defined

·         How detailed project scope statement will be developed

·         How work breakdown structure will be created

·         How scope verification will be performed

·         How project scope control will be done

Tool and Techniques of Scope Planning

Expert Judgment

Experts make decisions based on experiences of equivalent projects.

Templates, Form, Standards

It may include templates for work breakdown structure, scope management plan, and project scope change control.

Outputs of Scope Planning

Project Scope Management Plan

A project scope management plan is a part of the project management plan. It provides guidance on how the project scope will be defined, documented, verified, managed, and controlled. The components of a project scope management plan include:

·         Process to prepare a project scope statement

·         Process to create WBS

·         Process for maintaining WBS and its approval

·         Process for verification and acceptance of project deliverables

·         Process to control changes in project scope (This process is linked with integrated change      control process)

Scope Definition

Scope definition process is a detailed project which is critical to project success.

In this process the project is defined with greater details and with more specific information about the project. Stakeholder needs and expectations are detailed in this document. The assumptions and constraints are analyzed and detailed.

Tools and Technique of Scope Definition

Product Analysis

Product analysis is performed for detailed understanding; this may include product breakdown, Systems analysis, system engineering, value engineering, value analysis, and functional analysis.

Alternative Identification

Identifying alternatives is a technique used to generate different approaches to perform the work.

It includes techniques like brainstorming, lateral thinking, Proof of Concept (POC), prototype, approach paper, etc.

Expert Judgment

Application experts provide inputs for creating a detailed project scope statement.

Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholder analysis is a technique to identify the stakeholders’ influence and their needs and expectations. The analysis helps in selecting, prioritizing, and quantifying the needs, wants, and expectations to ascertain the requirements. Subjective and unquantifiable expectations pose high risk to project outcome.

Output of Scope Definition
Project Scope Statement

The project scope statement is a detailed description of project work and deliverables along with project boundaries.

The detailed project scope statement includes:

Project objectives

This is measurable success criteria of the project. There may be various objectives like business, cost schedule, technical and quality. Objectives should be quantifiable and measurable.

Product Scope Description

A characteristic of products, services, or results for which the project was undertaken falls under this category. This is a progressively elaboration of product characteristics. Stakeholder analysis provides inputs regarding prioritized requirements.

Project Requirement

Conditions or capabilities that must be met or possessed by the deliverables of the project to satisfy a contract, standard and/or specification as applicable are project requirements.

Project Boundaries

An explicit description of what is included within the project and what is excluded. All assumptions of stakeholders should be carefully documented in order to define project boundaries.

Project Deliverables

Outputs of the project work that comprise the product, service or result of the project are product deliverables. It may include ancillary results, like project reports and documentation.

Project Acceptance Criteria

Process and criteria for accepting completed deliverables.

Project Constraints

Specific project constraints associated with the project scope that limit the team’s options, like predefined budget, imposed dates and contractual provisions.

Project Assumptions

Specific project assumptions associate the project scope. It may describe potential impact of those assumptions if they prove to be invalid.

Initial Project Organization

The project organization with the details of project team and stakeholders make up this category.

Initial defined risks

Known risks, high attrition, quality resources availability, technical complexity, lack of mature process capability, etc.

Schedule Milestone

Milestones are decided by the customer or performing organization. These imposed dates become schedule constraints.

Fund Limitation

Limitation on fund availability, including the time-frame.

Cost Estimate

Cost estimate for the project.

Project Configurations Management Requirements

Configuration management and change control requirements for the project.

Approval Requirement

Identifies approval requirements that can be applied to items, such as project objectives, deliverables, document and work.

Requested change

In the process of developing project scope statement, changes may be requested in the project management plan and its subsidiary plans. Integrated change control process is executed upon all change requests.

Project scope Management Plan (Updates)

Depending on approved change requests originated in Scope Definition process, the project scope management plan needs to be updated.

Creating WBS (Work Breakdown Structure)

The Work Breakdown Structure is a deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be performed by the project team to create deliverables.

The WBS subdivides the project work into smaller, more manageable pieces of work. Each lower level of the WBS represents further detailed breakup of the project work. Each lower level of the WBS represents further detailed break-up of the project work. The Lowest level WBS nodes are called work packages, which can be scheduled, estimated, monitored, and controlled by an individual or a team.

A Work Breakdown structure is a result-oriented family tree that captures all the work of a project in an organized way. It is often portrayed graphically as a hierarchical tree; however, it can be a tabular list “element" categories and task or the indented task list that appears in your Gantt chart schedule.

The WBS is commonly used at the beginning of a project for defining project scope, organizing Gantt schedules and estimating costs. It lives on, throughout the project schedule and often is the main path for reporting project costs. On larger projects, the WBS may be used throughout the project to identify and track work packages, to organize data for Earned Value Management (EVM) reporting and for tracking deliverables.

Tools and Techniques for creating WBS

Work Breakdown Structure Templates

WBS templates provide a project specific structure for decomposition. As long as the projects are similar, these templates may be created with inputs for previous projects. For example, software developments have similar project life cycles ad similar deliverables.


Breakdown project deliverables into smaller, more manageable components is called decomposition. Breakdown should not be done until the cost and schedule for the work can be reliably estimated. The level of detail for work packages will depend on the size and complexity of the project.         

Steps to Create WBS

Identify final project products necessary for achieving project success.

Identify the major deliverables necessary for project success.

Decompose until management requirements for managing and controlling the project are met.

Review and refine the WBS until the stakeholders agree with the level of project planning, reporting and deliveries.


Create WBS: Outputs

Project Scope Statement (Updates)

The project scope statement is updated to include changes occurring due to approved changes if those requests are results of the Create WBS process.

Work Breakdown Structure

WBS is generated by the Create WBS process which includes WBS component, including work package and control accounts within a WBS.

WBS is different than other breakdown structures used to present project information like:

Organizational Breakdown Structure(OBS)

Bill of materials(BOM)

Resource Breakdown Structure(RBS)

Work Breakdown Dictionary

WBS dictionary contains the list of all WBS along with the details on the component associated with the WBS node.

Scope Verification

Scope verification is the process of completed project scope and deliverables by stakeholders. This includes performing review and getting formal acceptance from stakeholders.

Scope verification process is different from quality control process as in scope verification is concerned with the deliverables and work as per project scope while the quality control process focuses on meeting the quality requirements specified for the deliverables. Usually quality control is performed before scope verification, but sometimes these processes can be performed in parallel.

Tools and Techniques of Scope Verification

Inspection is a process of review and may include measuring, examining, and verifying the deliverable against project scope statement to determine whether work and deliverables meet requirements and product acceptance criteria.

Outputs of Scope Verification

Accepted Deliverables

Deliverables which are accepted after inspection and necessary documentation is prepared. Rejected deliverables are also documents with the reasons for non-acceptance. Scope verification process includes documentation received from the customer or sponsor and acknowledging stakeholder acceptance of the project’s deliverables.

Requested Changes

Changes may be requested during inspection and reviews in Scope Verification process. These change requests are submitted for review and approval through the integrated change control process.

Recommended Corrective Actions

Customer, project team, top management or the techno-commercial team may request changes which in turn, may generate certain corrective actions to the deliverables.

Scope Control

Project Scope Control process controls the factors which induce changes in project scope. It also controls the impact of those changes on project scope. Scope Control is associated with Integrated Change Control Process. This process makes sure that all requested changes and recommended corrective actions are processed through the Integrated Change Control process.

This process also manages the actual changes when they occur in coordination with other control processes. It controls scope creeps, which is one of the biggest reasons of unsuccessful projects.

Input of Scope Control

Project Scope Statement

The project scope statement including scope baseline and product scope is used.

Work Breakdown Structure and WBS Dictionary

The project scope statement includes scope WBS node, which may be impacted by approved change request.

Project Scope Management Plan

It provides planned procedure for scope control process.

Performance Reports

It provides information on work performance status of complete and incomplete deliverables.

Approved Change Requests

Change requests which are approved by Integrated Change Control process and may impact project scope.

Work Performance Information

Work performance information includes specifics of work status like, schedule progress, information of completed and incomplete deliverables, activities schedule, cost and qualify information.

Tools and Techniques of Scope Control

Change Control System

Scope change system is described in the project scope management plan. It provides the procedures by which the project scope and product scope can be changed. This change control system includes the documentation, tracking systems, and approval levels necessary for authorizing changes. The scope change control system is a part of project management information system to control project scope.

Variance Analysis

Variance analysis provides project performance measurements to assess the variation of actual values against the planned values. It helps in determining the quantifiable impact of change.


Approved changes requests which affect the project scope may necessitate the changes to:

WBS &WBS dictionary

Project scope statement

Project scope management plan

A re-planning exercise takes place at this stage in order to accommodate all the changes and their impact.

Configuration Management System

The configuration management system is a sub system of the overall project Management Information System. The System includes the process for submitting proposed changes, tracking system for reviewing and approving proposed changes, defining approval levels for authorizing changes, and providing a method to validate approved changes. In most application areas the configuration management system includes the change control system. The configuration management system is also a collection of formal documented procedure used to apply technical and administrative direction and surveillance to:

Identify a document the functional and physical characteristics of a product or component

Control any changes to such characteristics

Record and report each change and its implementations status.

Support the audit of the product and the component to verify the conformance to requirement.

Output of Scope control 

Project Scope Statement (Updates)

Updates the project scope depending on the approved change requests if needed. The Updated project scope statement becomes the new project scope baseline for future changes.

Work Breakdown Structure (Updates)

Updates the WBS depending on the approved change request if needed.

WBS dictionary (Updates)

Updates WBS dictionary depending on the approved change requests if needed.

Scope Baseline (Updates)

Based on the approved change request, the original baseline will get updated and a new baseline is created.

Requested Changes

The results of the project scope control generates the request changes which are processed for review and disposition according to the project Integrated Change Control Process.

Recommended Corrective Action

Customer, project team, top management or the techno commercial team may request changes which in turn may generate certain correctives to the deliverables. This recommended corrective action helps to bring expected future project performance in line with project management plan and project scope statement.

Updates the Organizational Process Assets

Organizational Process Assets are updated with causes of variances, reasoning behind  the selected corrected action and lessons learned from project Scope Change control.

Updates the Project Management Plan

Updates project management plan, if the approved change requests have an affect on the project scope.


We can conclude by saying the aforementioned write up highlights the importance of project scope management. All project managers use project scope management throughout the project life cycle to identify and control all aspects involved in a project without a planned scope so practical deliverables are not possible. The different inputs, outputs and tools and techniques of Project Scope Management have been discussed at length.




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