4 Tutorials that teach Project Scope
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Project Scope

Project Scope

Author: Jeff Carroll

This lesson introduces the elements of a Project Scope.

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Source: Image of bullseye, male project sponsor, microphone at event, calendar, arrow, Creative Commons, Kelly Eddington; Image of large document, small document, briefcase, process arrow, Public Domain, Sparkol VideoScribe Internal Image; Image of scope flow diagram, Creative Commons, TBD.

Video Transcription

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Hi, I'm Jeff. And in this lesson, we'll discuss project scope. When we say project scope, we're talking about two things. One is the physical document that defines a project, describes the outcomes, and identifies who has oversight in the project. The other definition refers to the goals and the results of the project.

Once a project manager is assigned to a project, the very first step they should take is the creation of a project scope document. Then the details of the project scope can be communicated to project members and stakeholders. But what goes into a project scope document? Typically, this document answers the following question; who, what, when, why, and how.

Who? Who are the stakeholders for the project? And who will have decision making authority? For example, if an organization launches a project to create event planning software, who will determine the requirements?

What? What are the deliverables of the project? In our case, the event planning software is a deliverable. But perhaps the process to manage events will also be a deliverable.

What are the stakeholders' expectations and requirements for event planning? And what are the risks associated with our project? When? When will the project be complete? When will each phase be complete? And when will employees be able to plan events using our new software?

Why? Why is the project being initiated? Why will we benefit from this project? This is often called a business case. Perhaps in our example, event attendance in our organization has been dropping because notifications are being sent too late.

And how? How will the project be managed? How will the project manager handle the work? For example, will the project use phase based or iterative development? If the requirements are clear, perhaps phase based development is the proper choice.

The individual pieces of a scope can be outlined in a flow diagram as you see here. Now, we'll discuss the details of these sections in other lessons. But for now, note how the five scope questions are answered during the development of each element.

Who are the stakeholders? What are the deliverables? When will the project be complete? Why is the project being initiated? And how will the project be managed?

When the scope document is finally complete, all stakeholders should have the detail needed to decide whether a project should move forward. In some organizations, a project charter will also be created prior to the project scope. This is a light version of the project scope, and its purpose is to give a project manager authority to start the project.

While all projects should have a scope document, not all projects will have a charter. It's up to the organization whether a charter is necessary. If a project does have a charter and the scope document, the charter is always created first. Without a charter though, there still needs to be a formal method to kick off the project, and grant authority to the project manager. This could be a meeting between the key principles, or even something as simple as a document or email informing the project manager that they can begin.

All right then, good job. In this lesson, you've learned the creation of a project scope is the first step a project manager takes when a project starts. And what details go into a project scope and a project charter. Thanks for your time. And have a great day.

  • Project Scope Document

    A document that defines a project and provides a framework for identifying project outcomes and project governance.

  • Project Charter

    A document that provides an overview of a project and provides a context for deciding whether or not a project should be initiated.