Understanding and managing project scope is an integral part of the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam and day-to-day responsibilities of a project manager. Scope management helps ensure a project’s success by defining and controlling what is included in the project and what is not.

Table of Contents

I. Defining Project Scope

Defining scope involves developing a detailed description of the project and product. It involves:

  • Defining the project boundaries
  • Identifying the deliverables
  • Specifying the work that must be done to deliver the product.

Typically this is documented in the form of a Scope Statement. A scope statement should include the project’s justification, objectives, deliverables, boundaries, constraints, assumptions, and stakeholder’s list.

Example: If you are designing a mobile application for a bank, the scope might include designing and developing the app, testing it, and launching it in specific marketplaces. It might explicitly exclude marketing or maintenance of the app.

II. Creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

Once the scope is defined, the project team creates a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). A WBS deconstructs a project’s objectives into manageable chunks, known as work packages.

Example: In the mobile banking app project, work packages might include ‘Design User Interface’, ‘Develop Login Module’, ‘Perform Security Testing’, etc.

III. Validating and Controlling Scope

In the validate scope process, the completed project deliverables are formally accepted. On the other hand, scope control ensures that uncontrolled changes to the project scope (scope creep) are prevented.

Scope creep can derail projects, extending them beyond their original timelines, and exceeding budgets. Effective scope management helps ensure that every piece of work is authorized and aligned with the project objective.

The elements of the scope baseline include the project scope statement, WBS, and WBS dictionary. Capturing, managing, and communicating changes to the project scope is performed with the help of a change control system.

Example: If there’s a request to add a new feature to the mobile banking app, this would be assessed through the change control process to determine its impact on the project scope, timeline, budget, quality, and resources.

IV. PMP’s Scope Management Processes

According to the ‘A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)’, scope management includes the following processes:

  1. Plan Scope Management: It involves creating a scope management plan that outlines how to define, manage and control the project scope.
  2. Collect Requirements: It involves determining, documenting, and managing stakeholder needs.
  3. Define Scope: It involves developing a detailed description of the project and product.
  4. Create WBS: It involves subdividing project deliverables into smaller, more manageable components.
  5. Validate Scope: It involves formalizing acceptance of the completed project deliverables.
  6. Control Scope: It involves monitoring the status of the project and product scope and managing changes to the scope baseline.

Successful scope management helps in delivering the project on time, within budget, and to the agreed quality levels. By spending the time to plan and manage the project scope, project managers can ensure a clearer path to success in their projects. A clear understanding of scope management, its processes, and tools is an important part of preparing for the PMP exam and becoming an effective project manager.

Practice Test

True or False: Scope management includes the processes required to ensure that a project includes all and only the work required to complete the project successfully.

Answer: True

Explanation: Scope management is a critical aspect of project planning that defines and controls what is and isn’t included in the project.

The Scope Management Plan is a part of:

  • A. Project charter
  • B. Work breakdown structure
  • C. Project management plan
  • D. Risk register

Answer: C. Project management plan

Explanation: The scope management plan is a component of the project management plan and it describes how the scope will be defined and managed.

Which tool or technique is not used in the Define Scope process?

  • A. Facilitated workshops
  • B. Delphi technique
  • C. Expert judgement
  • D. Product analysis

Answer: B. Delphi technique

Explanation: Delphi technique, a type of consensus method, is a tool used in Collect Requirements process and not in Define Scope.

True or False: The scope of the project refers only to the end product that is to be delivered to the client.

Answer: False

Explanation: The scope not only includes the end product but also the work required to deliver that end product.

The primary output of the Define Scope process is:

  • A. Work breakdown structure
  • B. Scope statement
  • C. Project scope management plan
  • D. Requirements documentation

Answer: B. Scope statement

Explanation: The primary output of the Define Scope process is the scope statement, which provides a detailed description of the project and product.

True or False: A project’s scope is finalized in the planning stages of the project.

Answer: True

Explanation: The work to be done on a project and what the project’s end product will be like is finalized in the Define Scope process during planning stages.

Which process involves subdividing project deliverables and project work into smaller, more manageable parts?

  • A. Plan Scope Management
  • B. Collect Requirements
  • C. Define Scope
  • D. Create WBS

Answer: D. Create WBS

Explanation: Work breakdown structure (WBS) is a deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team.

True or False: The scope baseline consists of the project scope statement, the WBS, and the WBS dictionary.

Answer: True

Explanation: The scope baseline is a part of the project management plan and it includes the approved version of a scope statement, WBS, and its associated WBS dictionary

Which of the following is not a part of the scope management plan?

  • A. How the scope will be defined, validated, and controlled
  • B. How requirements will be collected
  • C. How the project budget will be managed
  • D. None of the above

Answer: C. How the project budget will be managed

Explanation: The project budget is part of the cost management plan, not the scope management plan.

True or False: Requirements Traceability Matrix links product requirements from their origin to the deliverables that satisfy them.

Answer: True

Explanation: Requirements Traceability Matrix is a table that links requirements to their origin and traces them throughout the project life cycle.

Interview Questions

What is the project scope?

The project scope defines what is to be accomplished during the project, including the work needed to deliver a product, service, or result.

What is the first step in managing project scope?

The first step in managing project scope is clearly defining the project’s objectives and deliverables.

What does Scope Management Plan include?

The Scope Management Plan includes how the scope will be defined, validated, and controlled.

What are some main outputs of the planning process in scope management?

The main outputs of the planning process in scope management are a Scope Management Plan and a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).

What is a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)?

A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is 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.

How does a change request affects project scope?

A change request may expand or contract the project scope, depending on what the change involves. It may lead to an increased or decreased cost and time to deliver the project.

What is scope creep?

Scope creep refers to the uncontrolled changes or continuous growth in a project’s scope, often occurring when the scope of a project is not properly defined, documented, or controlled.

What is the purpose of a scope baseline?

The purpose of a scope baseline is to serve as a reference point throughout the project. It includes the project scope statement, WBS, and WBS dictionary.

What is a Scope Statement?

A Scope Statement is a document that clearly defines the business need, benefits of the project, objectives, deliverables, and what the project does not cover.

In scope management, what is the validate scope process?

The validate scope process is the process of formalizing acceptance of the completed project deliverables.

What is the WBS dictionary?

The WBS Dictionary is a document that provides detailed deliverable, activity, and scheduling information about each component in the WBS.

What is included in a project scope checklist?

A project scope checklist might include project objectives, deliverables, budgets, deadlines, a breakdown of tasks, and key stakeholders.

How can a project manager control the scope of a project?

A project manager can control the scope of a project through scope verification, managing changes to the scope, and ensuring all requested changes go through the Change Control System.

What is the output of the Control Scope Process?

The outputs of the Control Scope Process are Work Performance Information, Change Requests, Project Management Plan updates, and Project Document updates.

What is the purpose of Requirement Traceability Matrix (RTM)?

The purpose of a Requirement Traceability Matrix (RTM) is to trace requirements to their origin and track them throughout the project lifecycle. This helps to ensure that all requirements are met and nothing is overlooked.

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