5 Tips How to Scope your Project

Sunday, March 9, 2014, AM | Leave Comment

It’s often said that to define the scope of a project, you need to be a mind reader. The reason is that early on in the project, no one really knows what the scope is and everyone has a different opinion when asked.

But if you don’t define the scope early on, it will change during the project. You’ll have moving goalposts which make it impossible to succeed.

One of your key responsibilities as project manager is to scope your project, i.e., identify and control change.

5 Tips How to Scope Your Project

Take these 5 Steps to scope your projects:

  1. Set the Direction

    Start off by setting the direction for the project by asking questions such as:

    • Do you have an agreed Project Vision, Objectives and Timeframes?
    • Are they specified in depth and has your customer agreed to them?
    • Does everyone in the project team truly understand them and why they are important?

    Only by fixing the project direction can you truly fix the project scope.

  2. Scope Workshops

    The best way to project scope is to get all of the relevant stakeholders to help you define it. Gather your project sponsor, customer and other stakeholders in a room and run a workshop to identify the scope. What you want from them is an agreed set of major deliverables to be produced by the project.

    Run the workshop by asking each stakeholder for a list of the deliverables they expect the project team to deliver. Take the full list of deliverables generated in the workshop and get them to agree on what’s mandatory and what’s optional. Then ask them to prioritize the list, so you know what has to be delivered first.

  3. Define each deliverable in depth

    Next step is you need to define each deliverable in depth. Work with the relevant people in your business to describe how each deliverable will look and feel, how it would operate and how it would be supported etc. That is, what the stakeholders say is actually what they mean.

  4. Assessing Feasibility

    Prioritized tasks must be feasible to achieve within the project end date. Before you confirm the scope, you need to review every deliverable in the list and get a general indication from your team as to whether they can all be completed before your project end date.

  5. Get the thumbs up

    Present the prioritized set of deliverables to your Project Sponsor and ask them to approve the list as your project scope. Ask them to agree to the priorities, the deliverable descriptions and the items out of scope.

    By getting formal sign-off, you can easily manage your Sponsors expectations with a detailed scope document at your side.

The scope document is the Project Manager’s armor. It protects you from changes and makes them feel invincible!

And there you have it – 5 steps to defining the scope for your project.

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This column is © copyright to www.Method123.com and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

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