Once a project is underway there is a constant battle to manage scope and keep the original intent of the project pure; so to speak. Project scope management is one of the most important keys to deliver project success.
But why do so many projects fail?
- Lack of preparation?
- Lack of communication?
- Lack of commitment?
No, those are symptoms.
Project Scope Management
Projects fail for a variety of reasons, but projects that start with poor scope are tracked for failure before launch. Constant shift in focus, such as resource multi-tasking, affects the ability to deliver.
Scope management includes the processes required to ensure the project has all the required work, and only the required work, to complete the project on time, on budget.
Managing the project scope concerns defining and controlling what is and is not included in the project. This shared project view can include:
- Collect Requirements: The process of defining and documenting stakeholders’ needs to meet the project objectives
- Define Scope: The process of developing an in-depth description of the project and product
- Create Work Breakdown Structure: The process of sub-dividing project deliverables and project work in to smaller, more manageable components
- Verify Scope: The process of formalizing acceptance of the completed project deliverables
- Control Scope: The process of monitoring the status of the project and product scope and managing changes to the scope baseline.
These processes interact with each other. In practice they overlap as well as interact.
Take a Planning Vacation
Projects fail so often because they start their journey without an accurate map and head out on the road guaranteed for failure. Many people plan their vacations with more thought than it seems companies plan projects.
Think about planning for a vacation:
- Where would we like to go – scope
- Where have we heard is a good time or have been before – lessons learned
- How much time do we have – scope (time/schedule)
- How much can we afford – scope through resources assignment
- What do we pack – risk
- What do we need to buy – resources
- What do we need to coordinate to get there – work breakdown structure
- What is our budget flexibility – management reserves
When scope is not defined then no one knows what to expect or how to identify success or how to know when trouble arises.
When scope moves, when scope modifies expectations change, budget changes, and resources change. Each of these variables and expectations impact bottom-line budget and top-line resource commitment. Once in motion project failure is the likely destination.
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In traditional project delivery approach, scope management means you don’t consider innovations and new product or project characteristics once the project is underway. You have to save changes for the change control board to decide if it is time for a new project or a post-launch an add-on/version update.
Within the below presentation you’ll find:
- How to identify common project roadblocks, hint: it’s people;
- A review of tools to identify the scope of impact a project has on people and process;
- A way to quantify how changes to scope affect projects; and
- A way to identify impact, the stakeholders, the risk, and many of the other factors to allow you to know the project and people involved and reduce the amount of surprises along the way
See presentation pages 54 and 55 for formulas to calculate the cost of team changes, that usually occurs when scope changes.
It is difficult to succeed in a ready, fire, aim environment when the target continually moves. Scope management helps provide clarity to launch projects, manage projects, and deliver projects.