Do You Understand Project Scope Management?

Project managers have difficulty managing project scope. Many project managers encounter scope creep, but don’t know what’s happening or what to do about it. Why? Frankly, some individuals don’t grasp the core principles.

Photo courtesy of (edited in Canva)

Photo courtesy of (edited in Canva)

Do you understand project scope management? Test your understanding. Try this quick quiz before reading the terms below.

Let’s review key terms for managing scope.

  1. Project. A project is “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.” Every project is temporary. It’s not perpetual. Each project has boundaries in terms of a definite beginning and ending.
  2. Program. A program is “a group of related projects, subprograms, and program activities managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits not available from managing them separately.” The scope of a program is the sum of its related projects and program activities.
  3. Product. A product is “an artifact that is produced, is quantifiable, and can be either an end item in itself or a component item.” A product may be a building, a software application, or a golf course, to name a few.
  4. Requirement. A requirement is “a condition or capability that is required to be present in a product, service, or result to satisfy a contract or other formally imposed specification.” The PMI Pulse says, “47% of unsuccessful projects fail to meet goals due to poor requirements management.”
  5. Deliverable. “Any unique and verifiable product, result, or capability to perform a service that is required to be produced to complete a process, phase, or project.”
  6. Scope. The scope is “the sum of the products, services, and results to be provided as a project.”
  7. Project scope management. Project scope management “includes the processes required to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to completed the project successfully.”
  8. Scope management plan. The scope management plan is “a component of the project or program management plan that describes how the scope will be defined, developed, monitored, controlled, and verified.”
  9. Scope baseline. The scope baseline is “the approved version of a scope statement, work breakdown structure (WBS), and its associated WBS dictionary, that can be changed only through formal change control procedures and is used as a basis for comparison.”
  10. Scope change. “Any change to the project scope. A scope change almost always requires an adjustment to the project cost or schedule.”
  11. Product scope. Product scope is “the features and functions that characterize a product, service, or result.”
  12. Project scope. Project scope is “the work performed to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions.” Project scope normally includes the product scope.
  13. Project scope statement. “The description of the project scope, major deliverables, assumptions, and constraints.”
  14. Scope creep. Scope creep is “the uncontrolled expansion to product or project scope without adjustments to time, cost, and resources.”
  15. WBS. “A hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.” A WBS shows all the deliverables for the project.
  16. WBS Dictionary. The WBS dictionary is “a document that provides the deliverables, activity, and scheduling information about each component in the work breakdown structure.” The dictionary provides more details concerning the deliverables of the project and is helpful for scheduling and identifying risks.
  17. Work Package. “The work defined at the lowest level of the work breakdown structure for which cost and duration can be estimated and managed.”
  18. Activity. An activity is “a distinct, scheduled portion of work performed during the course of a project.” Activities are derived from the deliverables identified in the WBS.

How can we seize and hold firmly the scope principles that bring success? First, review and understand these key terms. Second, apply the tools and techniques such as the creating a WBS and defining the project scope statements. Third, explain these principles in simple terms to your team members. Teaching others will reinforce the concepts for you and others.


Pick one of your projects. Focus on the scope management. What are one or two things you could do to clarify the scope of the project? Perhaps it’s performing assumption analysis or defining the constraints. Remember, the essence of scope management is determining what’s in the project and what’s not in the project.

Resource for Definitions:
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge – Fifth Edition