The Project Scope, defined during the project planning process, describes what a project is expected to accomplish and the work that must be done to deliver a project. It is a critical element in Project Management broadly, and more specifically towards securing the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification. The CAPM Exam will often place heavy emphasis on Project Scope, and practicing professionals would attest how project success is often determined by how well the scope was managed. Hence, reviewing and critiquing project scope is essential for achieving project goals and for any aspiring or existing CAPM certificate holder.

Project Scope can broadly be divided into two areas: Product Scope and Project Scope. The former defines features and functions of a product or service, while the latter refers to the work required to deliver that product or service.

For instance, consider the example of developing a mobile application. The product scope may include features like user-friendly interface, fast processing, and enhanced security. The project scope, on the other hand, will include tasks such as market research, coding, testing, and deployment. The scope thus established becomes the baseline by which the project’s success can be assessed.

Table of Contents

Reviewing Project Scope

In the reviewing process, potential problems or issues are identified that may lead to scope creep (uncontrolled changes) later on. Reviewing the project scope includes assessing the scope statement, the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), and the WBS dictionary.

Look closely at the project objectives in the scope statement. Are they SMART – Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Timely? If the objectives are not SMART, the scope might be wrongly assessed or improperly articulated.

The WBS, a visual representation of deliverables, should be hierarchical and easily understandable. If tasks are missing or placed at incorrect levels, it may impact the scope and subsequently, the project deliverables. The WBS dictionary should distinctly define terms and metrics used in the WBS to eliminate any confusion.

Critiquing Project Scope

Critiquing the project scope is a robust process undertaken to identify any potential improvements or modifications that can benefit the project. Critical assessment may involve challenging the assumptions, checking the feasibility, evaluating the stakeholder agreements, and more.

For example, if your mobile app project scope mentions security as a function, the critique process would involve questions such as: “Have we done enough market research to understand what security features our user base appreciates and needs? Are these features feasible within our given resources and timelines? Do stakeholder expectations align with the set project scope?”

Critiquing the project scope can also involve discussions with team members about the tasks. Gathering their input can aid in identifying whether project scope identifies all necessary tasks, has redundancies, or has under/overestimated the resources needed.

Bringing these reviews and critiques into regular project checks allows for a tighter control on scope and shifts it as a preventive measure rather than reactionary.


Effective management of the project scope directly impacts the success of any project. This understanding and application of reviewing and critiquing the project scope will not only help you perform better in real-world projects but will also empower you to perform better in the CAPM exam. Very often than not, the project scope forms an important component of the Exam’s syllabus and can make the difference in passing the CAPM exam.

Practice Test

True or False: The project scope includes both the product scope and project scope.

Answer: True

Explanation: The project scope covers aspects of the project like what work is required, while the product scope deals with the features of the product being created. Both are part of an overall project scope.

Which of the following is not a major element of the project scope statement?

  • a. Project characteristics
  • b. Deliverables
  • c. Project stakeholders
  • d. Marketing Plan

Answer: d. Marketing Plan

Explanation: The marketing plan is not usually included in the project scope statement. The scope statement majorly covers project characteristics, deliverables, and stakeholders.

True or False: The project scope is determined by the project charter.

Answer: False

Explanation: The project charter gives a brief overview of the project but the scope is developed more in-depth with the scope management plan.

Multiple Select: Who are important contributors to establishing the project scope?

  • a. Project Manager
  • b. Client
  • c. Contractor
  • d. Stakeholders

Answer: a. Project Manager, b. Client, d. Stakeholders

Explanation: All these listed individuals have a direct interest in shaping the project’s scope. However, contractors may not necessarily contribute to defining the scope.

Single Select: The project scope statement should always be ________.

  • a. General
  • b. Specific
  • c. Flexible
  • d. Complex

Answer: b. Specific

Explanation: A specific scope statement removes any ambiguity, helps in managing the client’s expectations, and keeps the project team focused.

True or False: The project scope always remains the same throughout the project life cycle.

Answer: False

Explanation: The project scope can change over time due to a variety of factors such as change requests from stakeholders, unforeseen issues, or alterations to the project objectives.

Single Select: One of the primary reasons to review or critique project scope is to ______.

  • a. Identify potential bottlenecks
  • b. Make the project shorter
  • c. Reduce team members
  • d. Change project objectives

Answer: a. Identify potential bottlenecks

Explanation: Project scope review can help identify potential bottlenecks or difficulties which may arise later in the project lifecycle.

True or False: Changes to the project scope should always be documented.

Answer: True

Explanation: Consistent documentation of project scope changes is important to maintain control over a project and avoid scope creep.

Single Select: The process of continuously controlling the project scope throughout the project life cycle is called _______.

  • a. Scope Creeping
  • b. Scope Planning
  • c. Scope Management
  • d. Scope Control

Answer: c. Scope Management

Explanation: Scope management involves defining and controlling what is and is not included in the project.

Multiple Select: Project scope statement often includes?

  • a. Project Deliverables
  • b. Project Boundaries
  • c. Marketing Strategies
  • d. Project Exclusions

Answer: a. Project Deliverables, b. Project Boundaries, d. Project Exclusions

Explanation: Project scope statement details deliverables, boundaries, and exclusions but not marketing strategies.

True or False: The project management plan and the project scope statement are the same.

Answer: False

Explanation: The project management plan includes the scope statement but also incorporates other key components like the budget, schedule, etc.

Single Select: The document that helps in evaluating whether or not a project is adhering to its scope is ________.

  • a. Scope Baseline
  • b. Resource Plan
  • c. Financial Plan
  • d. Communications Plan

Answer: a. Scope Baseline

Explanation: The scope baseline is used to compare the original project scope with the current status, helping to evaluate project performance and detect deviations.

True or False: A well-defined project scope can serve as a guide for making project decisions.

Answer: True

Explanation: A well-defined project scope helps to guide decisions about whether certain work should be included or excluded from the project.

Single Select: The primary tool for gathering details to establish the project scope is _______.

  • a. Stakeholder Analysis
  • b. Brainstorming
  • c. Requirements Gathering
  • d. Risk Analysis

Answer: c. Requirements Gathering

Explanation: Requirements gathering is the fundamental tool used to detail the project and product requirements – thereby establishing the project scope.

True or False: The scope of an ongoing project should not be reviewed or critiqued.

Answer: False

Explanation: The project scope should be continuously reviewed and managed to ensure the project remains within its defined parameters and to make necessary adjustments as required.

Interview Questions

What is the key purpose of a project scope?

The key purpose of a project scope is to define specific activities and deliverables that must be produced to successfully complete the project. It includes details about the project’s objectives, costs, timelines, deliverables, and limitations.

What are the key elements included in the project scope?

The key elements included in the project scope are project objectives, deliverables, milestones, technical requirements, limits and exclusions, reviews with customers, and project outcomes.

What is a project scope statement and why is it important?

A project scope statement defines the scope of the project in clear and concise terms. It is important as it describes the project deliverables, objectives, outputs, inputs, constraints, assumptions, and stakeholders, and helps to prevent scope creep.

Why is a review or critique of a project scope important?

A review or critique of a project scope is important to ensure all necessary tasks and activities have been included, it’s feasible and everyone has the same understanding of what is and isn’t included in the project. It also helps to ensure that the project will meet the stakeholders’ expectations upon completion.

What is “scope creep” and how can it be prevented?

Scope creep is the uncontrolled changes or continuous growth in a project’s scope. It can be prevented by having a clear, agreed-upon project scope, having change control processes in place, and ensuring all changes go through a formal change control process.

How can a change request impact a project scope?

A change request can potentially expand or reduce the project scope, which may lead to cost and schedule overruns, and jeopardize the project objectives if not properly managed.

Who typically approves changes to the project scope?

Changes to the project scope are typically approved by the Project Sponsor, Project Manager, or the Change Control Board(CCB).

What role does a project charter play in defining project scope?

A project charter is a document that formally authorizes a project. It provides a preliminary delineation of roles and responsibilities, outlines the project objectives, identifies key stakeholders, and defines the project scope.

What are the two types of project scope?

The two types of project scope are product scope, which refers to the features and functionality that characterize a product, service, or result, and project scope, which refers to the work needed to deliver the product, service or result.

What is a scope baseline?

A scope baseline combines the project scope statement, Work breakdown structure (WBS), and the WBS dictionary. It is used as a baseline to compare the actual project’s progress and performance.

What is the importance of project scope in risk management?

Project scope is vital in risk management as it helps to identify potential areas of uncertainty that could negatively impact the project outcomes. It acts as a foundation for identifying, assessing, and controlling the project risks.

What’s the key difference between scope verification and scope control?

Scope verification refers to the process of formalizing the acceptance of the completed project deliverables, while scope control involves managing the changes to the project scope.

Which project management knowledge area encompass management of project scope?

Scope management is the project management knowledge area that encompasses the processes to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully.

What is the relationship between the project scope and the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)?

The Work Breakdown Structure is a detailed deliverable-oriented breakdown of the work to be executed by the project team, to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables. It is derived from the project scope and provides a hierarchical view of what must be done to complete the project.

How does the scope management plan assist in managing project scope?

The scope management plan serves as a guide detailing how the project scope will be defined, developed, monitored, controlled, and verified. It helps to prevent scope creep and ensures that all the work required, and only the work required to complete the project, is included.

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