Rajesh is the project manager of a team that’s building a web-based application for an IT firm. The app’s goal is to fully automate the process of tracking the time entries made by the organization’s employees no matter where they are located. As the project manager, it’s Rajesh’s responsibility to ensure that all the high-level requirements of the project are communicated to the relevant parties. Rajesh and his team present the project statement to the organization’s CEO and all stakeholders. This is supposed to highlight everything within the project scope, such as granting user access to all employees and enabling remote desktop access.
With a three-month deadline, Rajesh’s team delves into project planning and gets busy meeting targets. However, two months into the project, Rajesh realizes that the CEO has added several more deliverables to the project scope, including mobile access to the app. Rajesh now needs extra time and resources to work on the new deliverables but is told that the budget and deadline will remain as they are.
The team fails to deliver on the extra tasks. Accused of going in without a clear plan, Rajesh is taken off the project because he could not clearly communicate everything within and outside the project scope. For instance, while the project statement said remote access via desktop would be enabled on the app, it didn’t mention that remote mobile access would be outside the project’s scope.
The failure to create a water-tight project scope statement and properly communicate its vision to the stakeholders led to Rajesh’s removal as project manager. He should have realized the importance of a project scope that’s clearly defined.
What Is The Meaning Of Project Scope?
Project scope is a component of project planning. It involves clearly establishing and listing the goals of a project and the tasks, budget and timelines within which the deliverables are expected. This is done through a project scope statement, which clearly spells out the parameters of a project, lays out the specific tasks to be carried out by every individual on the team, and outlines approval processes for all tasks and completed work. A scope statement that doesn’t meet these parameters is a failed project scope example. Even with hard work and vision, a project is destined to fail without a proper project scope statement.
There are several reasons why a project needs a clearly defined project scope statement. Let’s take a look at what they are.
Why Is Project Scope So Important?
Matters can often spiral out of control during project planning, especially when the project has –
- several people working on it
- multiple stakeholders
In such situations, the importance of a project scope statement can’t be overstated. Here are a few of its benefits:
Being an effective team leader involves providing direction to the team members. Having an unambiguous scope statement when a project is underway gives the project team a clear roadmap to follow. This helps them maintain a systematic focus on the tasks at hand and minimizes the possibility of distractions and redundant work. Having a project scope to refer to enables a team to make informed decisions about change requests, adhere to deadlines and ensure that milestones remain on target.
Making Scope Creep Manageable
While changes to big projects are almost inevitable, they can often get out of hand. This results in scope creep, which can be a nightmare for any project manager. Managing scope creep becomes easier with a clearly defined project scope from the start; requests from different stakeholders for new deliverables can be assessed and handled more efficiently.
Keeping Communication Clear
It’s never pleasant when a client suddenly asks for a dozen new deliverables while a project is underway. A manager who leaves room for such change requests in a scope statement has clearly misunderstood the project scope meaning. An effective scope statement ensures that all team members and stakeholders know exactly how the goals and objectives of the project will be fulfilled. One way for managers to ensure that the plan stays on track and project milestones are met with minimal changes is to regularly check in with the client for approvals during the project. In this way, the result will most likely be to everyone’s satisfaction.
Now that we’ve outlined the importance of project scope, let’s look at the best way to put together an effective scope statement, after which we can explore a project scope example or two.
What Makes A Good Project Scope Statement?
By looking at any project scope example, we will immediately realize that, to be effective, it must adequately cover all bases and leave little to no room for confusion or miscommunication. While it’s understood that the contours of a project may change, there are a few ways to ensure such changes remain within manageable boundaries. Let’s look at some of the best practices:
Using Clear Language
Project managers must remember a scope statement won’t mean much if all relevant parties don’t easily understand it. In other words, cutting out the complicated jargon from a scope statement simplifies the project scope meaning. Since a scope statement is usually targeted at several stakeholders and a cross-section of people across various divisions in an organization, team leaders must ensure the language used is concise, consistent and easy to comprehend.
Addressing Important Points
A good project scope example is one where key questions about the goals of the project are answered. For example, what are the long-term benefits of the project to the organization? Does it fill a gap in the market? Does it give customers something they won’t get from another brand?
Avoiding Grand Commitments
Over-promising and under-delivering is one of the cardinal sins that a project manager may end up committing if they’re not careful. It’s important to be mindful of the resources and time available and work smartly instead of making promises to clients that eventually can’t be kept.
Brevity is important in a scope statement. It’s challenging to convince clients to sign off on a project with text-heavy documents. To get stakeholders on board and keep expectations reasonable, it’s important to keep the project scope statement brief and clear for efficient communication. Detailed documents make more sense during the project planning phase.
Being equipped with these tools to fashion an effective project scope statement is helpful in several ways. Let’s look at a project scope example that can benefit from these guidelines.
Project Scope Examples
A good scope statement gives the reader a clear idea of what the project entails and what it does not entail. Here are two examples:
Imagine a college that wishes to improve its facilities so that students and teachers can access WiFi anywhere on campus and be more productive. To make the scope statement SMART goal-specific, the project team should first outline every part of the campus that will have WiFi, such as classrooms, libraries, offices and dorms. It must mention the parties whose productivity will go up as a result of this measure, such as students, professors and office staff. Finally, it should state a timeline within which the project will be completed — say, the end of the third semester of 2022. This project scope example is a good one because it outlines defined, measurable and realistic goals.
Designing A Website
Consider a pet goods shop that wants a well-designed website that would become a one-stop-shop for clients, including buying products and getting in touch with the shop. In such a case, the project’s scope must clearly state the format design, the wireframe and the specific coding of the site. Factors that are outside the scope of the project – for example, the site won’t have a feedback section – must be specified as well, especially if clients have asked if there will be one. This due diligence leaves no room for miscommunication or unmet expectations.
In the hands of a capable and ambitious project manager, the meaning of a project scope can only be enhanced. Harappa’s Manage Projects Expertly course is designed to help senior professionals build themselves into such team leaders. Under the guidance of a stellar faculty and six in-depth, interactive lessons, you will be taught how to take charge of project management, make the right decisions and implement solutions with agility to meet business goals on target. With the help of techniques such as the SWOT And Cost-Benefit Analysis and The Good-Cheap-Fast Rule, ambitious professionals will be equipped with skills to build commercial acumen, plan and execute tasks with expertise.
You will also have access to FAQs, other learners’ feedback and training on big-picture thinking, which will enable you to move rapidly between ideas, and easily identify patterns, trends and connections. The Manage Projects Expertly pathway is the road to getting action-ready, adapting quickly and delivering with focus!