Project Scope Definition – How to play within a playground

Were you running project that was extended and extended to proportions that were not easily to be handled? Rising frustration from never-ending activities with good and improved results but not sufficient for stakeholders?

Well, most probably you faced not good scope baseline definition.

This article covers:

  • In scope meaning / Scope baseline definition
  • Project scope template
  • Define scope in project management
  • Project scope statement example
  • Scope of work definition

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In scope meaning / Scope baseline

Everybody knows soccer or football game. The playground has exact boundaries, that are accepted by everybody. By coach, his function is called sponsor in the project management. By players, which function is called project team. As well as by shareholders, who are called stakeholders in project management. Nobody is doubting these boundaries.

During a project lifecycle, we would like to see project team playing inside boundaries.

Not doubted by anybody that these are the right boundaries. And no one will try to extend the playground.

Therefore, there are two important information project lead need to agree on, with his sponsor. What is in project scope- the playground. And out of scope, or project excluded.

With this definition is easier to drive right changes. To focus on right deliverables. Finish the project on time, or in very short delay.

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Project Scope template

First step in any project is highly recommended to write a project charter. Take it as a written contract between sponsor and project lead. Key is, that is written on paper or any electronic document. What is written, is easier to be understood, shared and the most importantly, not to be forgotten.

Written form will endure and can be reviewed any time.

There are 6 sections of project charter. One of them is project scope. It is key element to not deviate from the main goal. Each charter section has key role in project good running. Take a time to fill all sections carefully. It is a most important step to run a successful project.

Download project charter template with project scope document included.

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Charter for download example

Main steps to develop project plan (+template) read here

Define scope in project management

There are important steps to do, before writing project scope. Business case, Opportunity statement and Project goal are Project charter sections that will help you understand what to include and exclude form the project. It will make you deeply understand requirements to be and not to be addressed.

So, what to write to the project scope development? I will suggest writing, in scope and out of scope processes. Try to understand activities influencing project goal – call project variables. That should be first indicators in scope development.

Charter descriptions

Next are listed opportunities. Discuss opportunities with sponsor and process owner and listen to them where they see the biggest opportunity for a change. Write down your thoughts on paper and review them again. There must be common agreement. This will help you with scope definition too.

What is fishbone diagram? (+template) read here

Project scope statement example:

Let say there is an initiative to improve 80 to minimum 95 daily sales. Project charter will look like this:

Project charter example

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On example of increasing daily sales from 2% to 7%, in scope example processes would be: e-shop, online marketing, material expedition and material ordering. Out of scope example might be: material packing, material stocking, accounting.

Try to make your project as narrow as you can. With duration 3 to maximum 5 month. If it seams too big, divide it into several projects series, called project generations. If project need to be extended, rather launch a new project, with new project charter, goal and scope.

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SIPOC excel template to download

If you are interested, you can dowload SIPOC on the link below. This is how it looks like:

SIPOC template preview

And here is promised link:

Scope of work definition.

You know, sometimes, it can be very difficult to stay limited within initial boundaries and control scope. Specially, when some of stakeholders comes, that this and that would be great to be addressed within this project, because from his perspective it is obviously important. And of course, within the same timeline and the same team and the same budget. It is like to ask soccer team to jump into a distance. Players are already running, so why they could not jump in meantime?

And here comes the written project scope in play. Involve your sponsor in such discussion, open project charter, read in scope and out of scope and how it is aligned to project goal. If there will be still argument, that project must be extended, give a proposal. As soon as this project will be finished, another project or another generation of the project can be opened to address that specific challenge.

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