Scope management

The consulting company I work for has developed its own methodology for project management that includes various methods, procedures and tools, and represents an integrated approach to project management specific to the company business areas. Every manager is required to take the course and pass the test before moving into the project management role. What I find interesting is that the methodology is not completely set in stone, it is evolving and can be revised based on the “lessons learned” from completed projects. There are open forums and quarterly conference calls that address questions and concerns and provide information on specific topics related to the methodology and project management.

The central focus of this custom developed methodology is on active management of various factors that directly influence the success of the project such as scope, time, cost, risk, issue, quality, communication managements and integrated change control.  The goal is to provide structured common language for project managers in order to deliver a repeatable and predictable experience to our customers.

I’d like to briefly highlight the approach to scope management which is one of the key elements of any project.

The company’s methodology advocates that scope management is intended for verification of work and tasks required for the project, monitoring status of the project and managing changes to the scope baseline. It includes key activities and key deliverables. Some of the central key activities are defined as reviewing and confirming project scope and timing, controlling scope, communicating changes and corrective actions, monitoring schedule and costs, confirming the segments of work, verifying project tasks and managing team members. Key deliverables include work effort estimates, project management plan, project scope statement, decision records, logs and status reports.

In order to verify that the project remains on track, the approach brings attention to the following important points. One is scope verification which is done at the time when the project deliverables are officially accepted and signoff sheet is received. Another one is building the work breakdown structure based on the total scope, which includes correct decomposition of the project and planning of work and resources within different components of it. Additional point is scope communication, which is the process for conveying project scope statement to the project team via kickoff presentation. And final point is scope control which is controlled through change control and management process that defines how changes are requested, analyzed and approved or rejected.

The methodology stresses out the importance of proper scope management as we all know that scope changes can cause a ripple effect that can negatively impact time, schedule, budget, quality and overall success of the project. I’ve been involved in 3 projects within the last year and none of them had any scope creep which means that the approach, proper training and tools provided to managers do help in managing the scope.

3 thoughts on “Scope management

  1. I like that your company has a process for scope management and particularly like the approach to scope control. This is important because it clearly defines up front what needs to occur in order to make changes. It is easy for people to continually pile on additional work to projects and this forces people to really think hard about the tradeoffs involved in adding deliverables to a project. I think it is also important because it ensures that any changes are agreed to by the full project team.

  2. I would love to hear in more detail about the scope management process. In my world, three projects in a year without scope creep seems to good to be true. One of the biggest contributors to scope creep that I see comes from adaptations to the company strategy. The strategy tends to be directional and not detailed so it is inevitable that a stakeholder will want to change something once the wheels are set in motion. Sometimes the changes were the right move, sometimes they were not. Is there a strategy component to your scope management process? Or is there a process for what to do when the scope might not be perfectly defined yet?

  3. It seems like the company has a great handle on managing the scope creep. Clearly, they take the process very seriously and they believe it is key to keeping a project on schedule and avoid tasks from piling up. I am curious to what in the past might have caused your company to create such a formal and unified process for scope of management? I have very limited exposure to project management but I am sure that my company does not have anything even closely resembling such process.

    What I also find very interesting is that the approach is always evolving. I think that is absolutely key to being competitive in your industry. I can see how companies can implement one process and be afraid to change anything because it “works” and because “that is how it’s always been done, so why change it?”.

    Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading it!

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