A project scope sets a project out on the right foot, it defines what the project is and is not meant to achieve and informs all stakeholders of the limits of its objectives. A project scope should concisely summarize the information and schedule of the project. The document itself does not have to be very long, no more than a page or even just a few paragraphs, but what it includes is very important for it to be effective. Though that may seem straightforward enough, knowing how to define a project scope properly is a key skill which all project managers need to know.
How to Define a Project Scope
Outline Project Objectives and Goals
These are the overall focus for what the project wants to achieve. It should be reasonably direct and in a clear format. For example, the SMART methodology is often used, which means making the goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. In the case of a project scope, an example of this would be to increase the social media presence of a company by 50% within three months, as measured by social media follows.
Confirm Project Deliverables
These are the more practical elements that are due to be completed by the end of the project. For example, if the project’s objective was to broaden the customer base of the company, a deliverable of this may be to gain 15,000 new leads during the course of the project.
This should give a rough estimate of what timeline the project is working with. It is not necessary to be extremely precise within the project scope, that will be done on the project timeline, but there should be a general outline. For example, that the project will have achieved 1/3 of its deliverables within the first month of a two-month project.
Identify What Is and Is Not Within the Scope
This is one of the main uses of a project scope, where the boundaries of the project are outlined. It is always important for a PM to ensure that a project does not exceed its scope. By setting out what’s included and not in the project at the start, it becomes easier to make sure that project creep and a lack of focus doesn’t occur.
Assess Resources Available
This part of the project scope will give an assessment of what is available for the project to work with. It should give a brief outline of the budget, as well as the team members and technological resources that will be used to complete the project.
Analyze Project Constraints
While every project manager would like to be able to promise that their project would achieve whatever the stakeholders wanted, this is rarely, if ever, possible. A run-down of the project’s constraints and the limits of its possibilities means that all stakeholders are well aware of what the project is due to deliver.
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