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Of all the documents that get created, reviewed and shared over the life of a project—project plans, timelines, budgets, status reports and issue logs, just to name a few—the project scope statement may be the one that has the greatest influence over the project as a whole.

The scope statement describes the goals, deadlines and relationships that will shape the project from start to finish. Creating an accurate, complete project scope document can dramatically increase your project’s chances of success. By including the elements below in your scope document, you’ll be able to build an effective scope statement and minimize the risk that change orders or other disruptions will blow your budget or your timeline.

Six Items to Include in Your Project Scope Statement

1. The Business Case

Large organizations typically spend a substantial amount of time reviewing and analyzing proposals before giving approval for a project to proceed. The scope statement does not need to repeat the proposal in great detail, but it should include a high-level summary of the business needs that the project is intended to address. This can help place the project in proper context for stakeholders who were not part of the initial approval process.

2. Objectives

Following the description of the business case, the scope statement should clearly define the goals that the project is intended to achieve. While other aspects of the scope statement, including specific deliverables, may change over time, the basic objective of a project is usually not expected to change.

When stakeholders attempt to add objectives or expand the scope after the project has begun, PMs must exercise project scope management, and insist that all changes are made through a formal process.

3. Deliverables

A scope statement should list the products or services that are to be provided at the conclusion of the project, in order to meet the project’s objectives. Deliverables should be described in enough detail to avoid confusion or misinterpretation by stakeholders.

Although deliverables vary from project to project, you’ll likely notice the final list of products or services to be provided will be similar across many of your projects.

4. Acceptance Criteria

If a scope statement lists deliverables but does not define criteria that the deliverables must meet, the result is often problematic. Vendors may feel that they have delivered exactly what the scope statement calls for, while customers may believe that they have received something completely different.

Outlining acceptance criteria that must be met can help ensure that each project activity brings the team closer to its ultimate goal.

5. Exclusions

Just as the scope statement should define the items that must be delivered as part of the project, it should also list any products or services that are not to be included in the project.

Here again, the goal is to prevent confusion or miscommunication, so the list of exclusions should be as detailed as is necessary to define the project boundaries to all stakeholders.

6. Technology

Although not typically included in project scope statements, stakeholders and other members of the team may find an introduction or explanation of technology that’s associated with the project to be helpful.

Whether it’s information about which professional services you’ll use to find talent or which project management software you intend on using, it’s likely that stakeholders will appreciate the transparency and feel more comfortable with the project moving forward.

Increase your business agility with Clarizen’s project management software

Good project scope management is all about visibility. Project management software can make it easier to get the high-level view you need into project progress. To learn more about Clarizen’s award-winning solution, sign up for a live demo today.

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Preview: Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting

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In the Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting guide, Gartner, Inc. provides recommendations and evaluation criteria for executives and PMO leaders assessing Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions. This guide outlines the adaptive project management and reporting process flow as well as a market review of current providers in the following categories:

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In the report, Gartner, Inc. mentions/states that “by 2024, 50% of all program and portfolio management (PPM) leaders will integrate complementary technologies to enable portfolio decision making and adaptive work management for digital business evolution.”

Clarizen offers a complete solution that connects work across the enterprise, turning ideas into strategies, plans, and action. With Clarizen, organizations can work the way they want to work and have real time visibility across all workstreams in their portfolio. This keeps teams focused on the things that matter, provides the real-time information needed to make more accurate and timely decisions, and delivers results faster to meet and even exceed company goals and customers’ expectations.

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