How to Define and Outline Your Project Scope





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Managing a project is no easy feat. Now imagine doing so without any guidance. No clear outline of the timeline, task distribution, or set budget. Any team would run for the hills and no one could blame them. This is why project scope management matters. Without a thorough project scope, scope creep is likely to arise, reports Forbes. Scope creep in project management refers to uncontrolled changes in a project’s scope, after its initiation. When this happens, a project is likely to derail with overspent budgets, delayed items, and low-quality work. Let’s take a look at how you can avoid this by clearly defining and outlining your project scope.

Project scope definitions

What is the project scope?

What is a scope in project management? The scope is the set of features and functions of a project, one that is usually a written document. The project scope is a framework that will guide your team on how to deliver a big project from initiation to completion. It includes tasks, timelines, budgets, human capital, final deliverables, and the overall goal of the project.

Project scope management definition

And what is scope project management? This is the process of defining these factors, such as tasks and budgets, as an integral part of the planning process.

In scope definition in project management

Within project management, the definition of scope has another subterm called “in scope”. This refers to work that is directly related to the established scope. Project managers want to make sure tasks remain “in scope”.

in scope in project management

Why is it important to manage the scope of a project?

Projects will not always go as planned, but with the right project scope management, there is a reduction of risks. Without a clear framework early on, the project could grow beyond your team’s ability, leading to delays or even burnout. Staying organized at work would be near impossible without a plan, particularly in project management.Here are the key reasons why it’s important to manage the scope of a project:

  • Stay within budget: A well-planned project scope addresses budget concerns. It makes sure you don’t go over the discussed budget. It’s important to set a realistic budget that takes into account all costs, including human resources and possible delays. Time and costs are usually directly related, so consider this when planning tasks and timeframes.
  • Manage human capital: Your project scope will help you manage human capital in a more structured way. How will you use your team as a resource to the best of your ability? Find out which team members are better suited for certain parts of the project. Also, consider whether outsourcing is necessary.
  • Coordinate with team members: Team members need to know exactly what to expect. The project scope will help you to break down tasks, assign them to team members, and address deadlines. Without such coordination, a project could go off the rails.
  • Align collaboration: The way in which your team will collaborate will be set in the project scope. Who will work together? In some cases, a task can only start after the completion of another. This collaboration could depend on the project management framework, and whether you choose agile vs waterfall.
  • Set clear goals and metrics for the project: The main advantage of a project scope is that it clearly sets the goals and metrics. After completion, you can see whether these goals and metrics were achievable. This is a great learning exercise to examine your project’s overall success.
set clear goals for project scope

How do you write a project scope?

A project scope statement is a document that details your project scope. The scope is either a separate document or a part of your project plan. We recommend you share it with all stakeholders before initiating the project.

1. Break down goals and objectives

The first step is to determine your goals and objectives. What is this project trying to achieve? How does it help achieve company goals and objectives? Your goals and objectives should also reflect the expectations of stakeholders. Here are some tips for goal-setting:

  • Break down goals into smaller parts
  • Make goals specific and measurable
  • Highlight the relevance of each goal to the team

2. Collect requirements

What are the project's requirements? Collect these from relevant stakeholders, possibly clients. Find out what their expectations and requirements are to complete the project. These could relate to the budget, timeframe, or the look of the final deliverable.Think about how these requirements and expectations intertwine with your project scope. How do they fit with your human capital and overall strategy? Make sure they are realistic in order to avoid delays or disappointment. According to Business Insider, an effective requirements phase is your best chance to ensure scope creep is spotted.

3. Define the final deliverable

After collecting your stakeholders’ requirements for the project, what will the final deliverable look like? More importantly, how will you achieve this final deliverable while addressing these requirements? Define what falls within the scope of this project so that your team knows what work to tackle. Clearly defining the final deliverable will make sure the workflow runs smoothly. With all the correct steps in place to achieve this goal, exceeding budgets and delays are less likely.

4. Create a work breakdown structure (WBS)

Create a work breakdown structure (WBS), one of the most important project management documents. The goal of a WBS is to make a large project more manageable, breaking it up into smaller chunks. Have you ever considered how to improve productivity in an organization?A workflow that organizes large projects into smaller tasks is an effective way of increasing productivity. Structure your WBS in a spreadsheet, with different tasks, phases, and deliverables. Alternatively, create a flowchart that visually represents the WBS. It should encompass all aspects of the project, as well as all team members. You can find an example of a WBS made by Forbes here.Task management is key here. Determine the tasks necessary for your project to build your WBS. Rock’s task management feature allows you to organize tasks in a simple way which could help you to build a strong WBS. You can add further details to tasks such as deadlines, labels, assignees, and documents.

5. Validate with stakeholders

You don’t want to start a project without validating the scope and WBS with your stakeholders. Stakeholders could be your internal team, finance department, leadership, and clients. Make sure everyone agrees that the project is well-defined and sensible. This way, you are less likely to run into issues such as scope creep. This usually happens when the project scope was unclear at the start. By validating your project scope, all stakeholders know what to expect.

6. Ongoing Scope controlling

As a project manager, you need to stay on top of your scope throughout the project. Control scope is the process of monitoring the status of a project and managing changes to its scope.The day-to-day management of the overall project is thus crucial. Make sure to gather regular feedback from your team, using effective communication strategies. If your team works from home, adequate remote work tools for communication will help foster open communication.You might find that the project is going beyond the initial scope or that changes are necessary. It’s important to stay on top of progress to mitigate risk as quickly as possible.

write project scope

Project scope vs task scope

Don’t make the common mistake of mixing up project and task scopes. While they are both essential, project vs task management have distinct roles. A project includes a wide range of information and deliverables. For example, building a website is a project. On the other hand, tasks are the actions within this project. In this case, starting the HTML code or brainstorming an SEO strategy are tasks. These are what you keep on your weekly to do list, daily tasks that are manageable for that timeframe.Simply, a project is a combination of all tasks, while tasks are individual items that work toward that final deliverable. It's important to understand these differences to avoid an overwhelmed team. Tasks should not be too large to resemble a project.

project scope vs task scope

Stay within project scope with Rock

Rock, an all-in-one messaging and task management tool has full-fledged project management functionality to make sure your project runs smoothly. With the right task management, communication, and documentation features, project managers can engage in control scope.

1. Use the Tasks mini-app to monitor project scope

Task management is highly organized on Rock, allowing managers to monitor the status of a project and its scope. From a structured task board with assignees, labels, and attachments, you can easily access everything you need. You can use it to set up your team’s work breakdown structure (WBS), making the project more manageable.

2. Effective communication on Rock

Rock’s features also leverage effective communication, necessary to stay within the scope of a project. As a team, you can discuss the progress of your project through asynchronous and synchronous communication features. You can access unlimited messages, group chats, audio messages, feedback polls, video conferencing integrations, and more. While you can always set up a video call, Rock allows you to send a quick Loom video to avoid unnecessary meetings.

3. Don’t lose track of your project documentation

The Notes and Files mini-apps are always at your fingertips, so that you never lose track of your project’s objectives. This high documentation allows managers to make sure all documented deliverables are in line with the project’s scope and overall goal. Your project scope documents are always readily available to all for clarification.Staying within the scope of a project is not always easy. Unforeseen changes happen and not all project management runs smoothly 24/7. Nevertheless, Rock allows you to prepare and lessen any potential challenges, while staying true to your project’s scope. Avoid scope creep with Rock!

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