When it comes to projects with a wide scope, clarity for the scope is a vital prerequisite for project success,’ says Michael Stanley, CEO of Business Improvement Architects.
Often, a project’s scope is not clear, which can lead to ‘scope creep’. This can result in a stretch of resources, a stretch of capacity, and uncontrolled change over time. However, there are simple steps that you can employ to reduce the risk caused by poor clarity in project scope.
What is Project Scope?
Project scope refers to the extent or range of work that needs to be done in order to deliver a specific project. It outlines what is included and excluded from the project, providing a clear understanding of what the project entails and what can be expected upon its completion. Project scoping involves defining and documenting the project’s objectives, deliverables, timelines, budget, and stakeholders. This process helps establish boundaries and guidelines for the project team, ensuring everyone involved has a shared understanding of what they need to achieve and how they will go about achieving it.
In essence, the scope of a project serves as a roadmap that keeps everyone on track and working towards the same goals. By clearly defining the project scope upfront, teams can avoid misunderstandings, miscommunications, and potential scope creep that could derail the project later on.
What is Scope Creep, and what impact does it have?
Scope creep, also known as requirement creep or feature creep, refers to the tendency of project scope to expand beyond its originally defined boundaries. This occurs when new tasks, requirements, or features are added to the project without proper consideration of their impact on the overall project scope, timeline, and budget. Scope creep can cause significant problems, including delays, increased costs, and decreased quality of work.
It can also lead to confusion among team members and stakeholders, as well as frustration and disappointment when the project fails to meet its original objectives. To prevent scope creep, it’s essential to establish a clear and comprehensive project scope statement, regularly review and update the scope, and ensure that all changes are properly documented and approved by relevant parties. By maintaining a tight grip on project scope, teams can stay focused on delivering the agreed-upon outputs and avoid unnecessary deviations that can compromise the success of the project.
Create a common understanding of products and requirements.
Creating a common understanding of products and requirements is a crucial aspect of project scoping. This involves bringing together stakeholders, project managers, and team members to define and agree upon the scope of the project. A clear and comprehensive project scope statement should outline the goals, deliverables, timelines, and resources required for the project. This statement should be communicated to all parties involved to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Regular reviews and updates of the project scope should also be conducted to account for any changes or issues that may arise during the project lifecycle. By creating a shared understanding of the project’s objectives and requirements, teams can avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications that can lead to scope creep or project failure. A well-defined project scope not only sets expectations but also helps to manage them, ensuring that the project stays on track and delivers value to stakeholders.
Introduce Scope Tolerance
Once the project scope is defined, it’s important to introduce scope tolerance to accommodate for unforeseen events or changes. Scope tolerance refers to the flexibility allowed in the project scope to address unexpected issues or opportunities that may arise during the project lifecycle. This can include factors such as changes in market conditions, customer needs, or technical limitations.
By incorporating scope tolerance into the project plan, teams can absorb minor changes without jeopardising the project’s overall objectives. However, it’s important to note that excessive scope creep can still occur if the tolerance is too broad or poorly managed. Therefore, it’s essential to establish clear parameters for scope tolerance, communicate them to all stakeholders, and monitor the project’s progress against these limits to ensure the scope remains aligned with the project’s strategic objectives.
Regularly audit the scope register
To ensure that the scope of a project remains accurate and up-to-date, it’s essential to regularly audit the scope register. The scope register is a document that contains all the approved changes to the project scope, including the addition or removal of tasks, deliverables, or milestones. Conducting regular audits of the scope register helps to identify any discrepancies between the planned and actual project scope, allowing for prompt action to be taken to address any issues.
This process also helps to ensure that all stakeholders have a consistent understanding of the project’s objectives and deliverables. When scoping a project, it’s important to establish a clear process for updating the scope register and to assign a dedicated person responsible for maintaining it. By doing so, project managers can ensure that the scope of the project remains well-defined and aligned with the organisation’s strategic goals throughout the project lifecycle.
For more information on how to keep your projects on track contact us today.
Why Choose Us?
At Nine Feet Tall, we understand the importance of clarity and scope in projects. That’s why our team takes a meticulous approach to project scoping, working closely with our clients to define and agree upon a clear project scope that meets their business objectives. Our experienced project managers will help you identify the key deliverables, timelines, and resources required for your project, ensuring that everything is captured in a comprehensive scope document.
We believe that a well-defined project scope is essential for success, as it helps to prevent scope creep, reduce risks, and ensure that your project stays on track. With our expertise in project scoping, you can trust that your project will be delivered on time, within budget, and to your exact specifications. So why choose us? Because we know that a clearly defined project scope is the foundation of a successful project, and we’re committed to helping you achieve your business goals.
Get in touch with us today.