Project Scope Management Part II

In the previous post of "project scope management" we briefly introduced the concept of project scope, importance of well defined scope and how project scope gets shaped up during project initiation process. In this post, we are going to understand how project scope gets defined step-by-step.

Defining a project scope

Once you have a feasibility report and the project gets approval, the next step is to define the project scope. You need to identify the participants who will help you in defining project scope. You can invite your team members, subject matter experts, quality analysts, finance

What needs to be delivered (WBS)?

It is clear that if scope is changing frequently, it means someone is not able to identify/understand/communicate what needs to be delivered. And others are getting dragged because of it. Hence to make it clearer, one can define project scope in terms of work-breakdown-structure (WBS). As you break-down the deliverables in to components/modules/ deliverable work items, you get better idea about what to deliver, how easy/difficult would it be? How long will it take, etc?

Thus defining WBS is like putting project scope in a framework based on which finer details of other aspects can be determined, like

How many resources are required (Resources)?

Once you figure out what kind of skillset, experienced resources, equipment are required to complete individual work-item as specified in the WBS? You can further ensure whether your organization has all required resource or need to procure/recruit. If you need to recruit them/procure them, you need to plan accordingly.

e.g. If the project requires a team of five environmental engineers/consultants; you need to check whether your organization has these resources. If not, is this talent available in the market, at what cost and by when do you want them to start working and how long?

What is the SLA or quality being delivered (Quality)?

What level of service or product quality are we going to ensure through this project? If the business requires sales support 24x7, then what level of provisions do you need to make? If business requires lesser than 5 service/product issues per week, what are the quality control mechanisms you need to put in place?

How long will it take to complete the delivery (Duration)?

Considering deliverables expected, resources required, and quality desired, you need to estimate what will be timeline for delivering a given project. Here work breakdown structure (WBS) helps greatly. You can take a bottom up approach wherein you can estimate time/duration required for individual/smallest component in the wbs and sum it up in the level to arrive at estimated overall duration for a project

What are potential risks in the delivery (Risk)?

Looking at project scope, wbs, resources available, provision made for budget; you can highlight risks that can potentially occur during the project delivery timeline. You can provide initial assessment of probability of occurrence, severity of the impact if these risk occur, etcl and what could be the possible strategy to tackle it, risk mitigation plan, risk contingency plan, risk transfer plan, risk acceptance plan, etc.

What will be the cost of delivering the project (Cost)?

Based on all above inputs, you can estimate the cost required to deliver a given project. Considering the cost-benefit analysis, your project sponsor may object the budget numbers, he may suggest changes. Having detailed analysis of all above factor will help you in justifying the cost numbers.