How to Develop a Simple Scope Management Plan

5 Questions for Developing a Scope Management Plan

How can you develop a scope management plan quickly that provides value to the project? It’s not as complicated as it may seem.

How to Develop a Simple Scope Management Plan

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Some project managers check the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) for advice, which I think is a great place to start. However, project managers may make the following mistakes: Individuals may see the PMBOK as a prescription and include every element for every project. On the other hand, some people see all the “required steps” and throw their hands up, deciding to do nothing.

I am a simple guy that likes simple ways of doing things. I use the PMBOK as a guide, but I determine which parts make sense for each of my projects.

Not familiar with terms such as a scope management plan, WBS, or scope baseline? Here’s a quick summary.

5 Questions to Ask

Here are some questions I answer when developing a scope management plan:

1. Who is responsible for developing and managing the project scope?

Typically, the project sponsor, project manager, and the project team have different roles and responsibilities. You may wish to use a RACI Matrix to clarify who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed for scope activities such as defining the project scope statement, baselining the scope, verifying the scope, and controlling the scope.

2. What will you include in your project scope statement?

The project scope statement may include the following:

  • Description of the project scope
  • Deliverables
  • Assumptions
  • Constraints

The scope statement includes the project’s deliverables — the products, services, or results being created. The statement may also include the project scope — the work required to create the deliverables.

3. What will you include in your scope baseline?

The scope baseline includes:

  • Project scope statement
  • Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
  • WBS Dictionary
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

The WBS is a hierarchical decomposition of the project and may be represented as an outline or organizational chart. The WBS represents the product and project work. The lowest levels are called work packages.

Do you know the 100% rule? The WBS should include ALL the deliverables and ALL the work, including the project management work.

I only include a WBS Dictionary — a detailed description of the deliverables, budget, and resource needs for each component — when creating a scope baseline for large, complex projects.

4. How will you validate the scope?

Validating the scope is the process of formally accepting the project deliverables. Inspections such as reviews and walkthroughs are performed to measure, examine, and validate whether the deliverables and work meet the requirements.

Do you know the difference between validating scope and controlling quality? The focus of validating scope is accepting the deliverables; controlling quality is concerned with the correctness of the deliverables (i.e., meeting the quality requirements for the deliverables).

5. How will you control the scope?

Changes in the product and project scope invariably occur. How will you control these changes? Project managers monitor these changes plus changes to the scope baseline. All changes should be processed through a change control process, thus minimizing scope creep.

Question: What other questions do you answer when developing your project scope management plan?

PMP Exam Series. Are you preparing for the PMP exam? Perhaps you’re a PMP, but you’d like a review. The PMP Exam Series is for you. Each month, we are looking at a different Knowledge Area of the Project Management Body of Knowledge with a special emphasis on risk management. This series is provided by Harry Hall, creator of The What, Why, & How of Powerful Project Charters.

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