Back To Basics – Project Planning : Project Scope Management

Back2Basics Project Management Guide - Project Planning

Back To Basics – Project Planning : Project Scope Management

In the first part, we looked at different elements of project planning & need of project planning. In this post we will look at project scope, project deliverables and three constraints that decides project scope & deliverables.

You can jump to Project Planning | Project Scope | Delivery Schedule Planning | Resource Planning | Cost Planning | Quality Planning | Risk Planning | Communication Planning parts of this series.

Elements of project plan

Elements of Project Planning (Time Resources & Quality) that defines scope.

Elements of Project Planning that define project scope

Figure 2: Elements of Project Planning

Project Scope Planning

Any project is expected to provide its stakeholders with certain outcome, which is commonly termed as project deliverables. These project deliverables depends on the scope of the project. Analogically, defining a project scope is like drawing a map. In the map, the boundaries are drawn to indicate stretch/ extent of a given territory; similarly project scope outlines the extent of project deliverables.

Essentially, project scope is the definition of what the project is expected to achieve and specify the budget of both time and cost that needs to be provisioned to create the project deliverables before the project gets closed. For the best result, one needs to take care of clearly carving out project definition & the budgetary requirements. More detailing & precision during project planning definitely help the team organize their work efficiently & deliver the project more effectively. Without a project scope, project execution can go haywire.

Project Deliverables

To define project scope, one needs to refer project requirements. The project planner needs to list down project deliverable items unambiguously stating whether they are ‘In Scope’ or ‘Not in Scope’. So, project scope is about outlining the project deliverables. Based on project scope, project planner(s) create(s) work break down structure (WBS).

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

The WBS is a breakdown/ decomposition of project work into distinct work items at higher level. These work items are aligned with the project objective and can help the project team to create expected deliverables. Generally the project team can refer to this work item hierarchy to decide whether any given task is included in WBS or not.

Essentially, WBS is decomposition of project work in a hierarchical fashion wherein with each descending level, it gives details of project deliverable required from project team.

Triangular Constraints (TQR)

The project scope is generally constrained, with respect to following aspects

  1. Time
  2. Quality
  3. Resources

If you stretch any corner of the triangle in Figure 3: Elements of Project Planning: the triangle gets distorted; similarly any change in the scope of the project has direct effect on (either any or all) of time, quality and resources of given project. Vice versa, any change in time or cost or resource can make the project scope altered.

And each corner of this triangle in turn has cost implication e.g. any addition of resource to project can increase cost of project, any delay in delivery can increase cost of project, any compromise can quality can have further effect on cost of the project. Hence cost of the project is directly dependent on project scope & project scope in turn is dependent on project delivery time, quality parameters & resource requirement.

Back2Basics Project Planning

You can jump to Project Planning | Project Scope | Delivery Schedule Planning | Resource Planning | Cost Planning | Quality Planning | Risk Planning | Communication Planning parts of this series.

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