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Stop biting off more than you can chew

Have you ever volunteered to do one thing and before you know it you are saddled with being responsible for the entire affair?Find out what you need to know about project scope to stop yourself from biting off more than you can chew.

Defining scope

When we look at defining scope, we are talking about developing a common understanding of what is included in or excluded from a project. Scope is collectively the product, service or result of the project.

Product scope refers to the product(features and characteristics that describe the product, service or result of the project). Project scope describes the project management work.

The process of defining the product and/or project scope begins with a review of the project objectives. Objectives describe what you are trying to accomplish or produce as a result of the project. Objectives should be quantifiable and may include schedule, cost, quality and or business measures. This information may be obtained from any documents or information that you can get your hand on that outline the project requirements or any other standard policies and/or guidelines.

Tools and techniques used to define scope

There are several tools and techniques that may be used to define the project scope. These include looking at ways to convert the product description and project objectives into tangible outcomes. Sometimes you may need to look at several alternatives. Brainstorming and thinking outside of the box are techniques to identify different ways to accomplish the project work.

Scope statement

The scope definition process results in the creation of the scope statement, the purpose of which is to document the project objectives, tangible outcomes and the work required to produce these tangible outcomes. This document is intended to be used to direct the project team’s work and serve as a basis for future decisions.

The project scope statement serves as an agreement between the project and customer. This agreement states precisely what the work of the project will produce. This document serves as a baseline for the project and tells everyone concerned with the project exactly what they will get when the project work is complete.

The scope statement includes the product scope description, the product acceptance criteria, project outcomes, exclusions, constraints and assumptions. An exclusion is anything that is not included as a deliverable or work of the project. Project exclusions should be noted in the project scope statement so that they can be used to manage stakeholder expectations throughout the project. Constraints are anything that either restricts the actions of the project team or dictates the actions of the project team.

Constraints that may be encountered on a project include time, budget, scope, quality, resources, etc. Assumptions for the purpose of project management are things that you believe to be true. The purpose of identifying, documenting and updating assumptions in project management is so that they may be validated and so that contingency plans may be created. Information to add to the list of assumptions may be sourced from stakeholders and brainstorming exercises with the project team as well as from vendors and or suppliers.

Cox is an instructor of project management certification classes at the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services(BIFS), an author, and president and CEO of Project Management Solutions Ltd. Contacts: Website: www.projectmanagementsolutionsltd.com; E-mail: Dorcas at projectmanagementsolutionsltd@gmail.com; Facebook: Bahamas Project Solutions.

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