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Project Scope Management

What is Project Scope Management?

Project scope management focuses on the processes that are needed to ensure that the work of the project, and only the work required, is performed to deliver project success.

The following processes and the primary goals of project scope management are defined below:

  • Collect requirements. Goal: requirements documentation
  • Define scope. Goal: Project scope statement
  • Create WBs. Goal: the WBS
  • Verify Scope. Goal: accepted deliverables
  • Control Scope. Goal: updates and change requests

From A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), Sixth edition, Project Management Institute, Inc. 2018.

Project Scope Management

The process of scope management is performed to ensure that the project contains all the work and only the work necessary, to fulfill project objectives successfully. While the requirements of the project are outlined in a requirements management plan, the scope management plan typically contains the following elements:

  • How changes to scope will be managed on the project
  • Escalation hierarchy in the organization to resolve potential scope issues
  • Description of any control systems that are used to manage scope and changes to scope

Plan Scope Management

The Plan Scope Management process defines how scope will be defined, validated, and controlled. The elements in the scope management plan include but are not limited to the following:

  • How scope and changes to scope will be managed
  • Method for minimizing or eliminating scope creep
  • Escalation path in the event there is a disagreement between stakeholders on required scope elements
  • How the scope will be defined, developed, monitored, controlled, and verified
  • Process for preparing a detailed scope statement
  • Process for the creation and the maintenance of the WBS
  • Process that defines how acceptance for the completed project deliverables will be obtained
  • Process that defines how requested changes to the scope statement will be processed
The requirements management plan performs a similar function in that it describes how requirements will be managed, documented, and analyzed. The components of the requirements management plan include but are not limited to the following:

  • Defines how requirements will be planned, tracked, and reported
  • Process for addressing missed requirements
  • Process for the prioritization of requirements
  • Metrics that will be used to define the product and the rationale for using them
  • Definition of a traceability structure that identify which requirement attributes are to be captured on a requirements traceability matrix

PMP Exam Tip

For the exam, there are two aspects of scope that you need to understand: the product scope and the project scope. What this means is:

  • Product Scope. What requirements do I have to fulfill to create the product of the project?
  • Project Scope.  What activities and processes do I have to perform to deliver the product scope? 
One of the key elements in managing scope is to prevent ‘scope creep‘. This is a term that was coined by the United States Air Force to describe conditions in which additional scope elements are added to a project without any means or method for controlling such additions – i.e. any uncontrolled change to a project. In some instances, customers and stakeholders will add scope to a project, yet will not allow for additional time or budget to accommodate the changes. This is a classic scope creep situation.

Gold plating is a subset of scope creep. These are elements added to the project by the performing organization because a team member thinks it's a good idea or that the customer will appreciate the extra work. The problem with gold plating is that added scope elements from the project team may cost the project money that was never contained in the project budget. If you're adding elements to the project that the customer never asked for, they may wonder what you are doing with the rest of their budget!

PMP Certification Exam - Project Scope Management - Memory Check

  • ___Plan scope management
  • ___Collect requirements 
  • ___Define scope
  • ___Create WBS
  • ___Validate scope
  • ___Control scope

A. The process of subdividing project deliverables in project work into smaller, more manageable components

B. The process of formalizing acceptance of the completed project deliverables

C. The process of determining, documenting, and managing stakeholder needs and requirements to meet project objectives

D. The process of creating a plan that documents how the project scope will be defined, validated, and controlled

E. The process of monitoring the status of the project and product scope and managing changes to the scope baseline

F. The process of developing a detailed description of the project and product

Materials in this course are based on the text, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), Sixth edition, Project Management Institute, Inc. 2018
Question 1: The scope baseline consists of which of the following elements?

a. Project management plan, WBS, scope statement
b. Scope statement, risk management plan, WBS
c. WBS dictionary, project management plan, scope statement
d. Scope statement, WBS, WBS dictionary

Question 2: The WBS is used for all of the following with the exception of:

a. Allowing for team buy-in of the project
b. Showing cross functional dependencies between work packages
c. A communication tool between stakeholders
d. Shows the team how their work fits into the overall project

Question 3: Your project team has come to you with an issue. It appears that during the requirements elaboration process there was a disagreement between the members of the technical team regarding what had to be built to satisfy a user requirement. As a result, some of the technical team members created features in the deliverable that the customer did not really ask for. What would have specifically helped to avoid this situation?

a. Requirements management plan
b. Requirements traceability matrix
c. Scope statement
d. WBS
Answer: D – Scope statement + WBS + WBS dictionary is the scope baseline

Answer: B – The WBS does not show cross functional dependencies between work packages

Answer: B – The requirements traceability matrix tracks each feature and element in the deliverable back to a requirement. This is a useful approach for preventing gold plating – giving the customer something they did not request.