What does your team think the project purpose is?

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Jim GrahamIf you surveyed your project team and asked them what your project is going to actually deliver, what would the answer be and would it be the same for everyone? You may hear a lot of 30,000’ level general answers about creating more value for the business or customer base, or whatever they think the project sponsor wants to hear. In actuality, your team should be on the same page and be able to clearly define the tangible product of the team’s hard work. If they do not, then they have either not read the Project Scope Statement, or the Project Manager has not reviewed it with the team, or the Scope Statement does not exist at all!

The Scope Statement is one of the most important documents that the Project Manager has in their tool belt. It clearly states everything that the project team will deliver.   So if it isn’t on the Scope Statement your team should not focus any effort on it! Pretty cut and dry, right?! Not so fast, good scope management through out the project is necessary, because scope creep is always lurking nearby (see my blog on the types of creeps <here>). The good news is that with solid project documentation and communication, scope management does not have to be difficult.

Here are some simple steps to Scope Statements and Control:

1 – Prepare Scope Statement

  • The overall defined description of project scope
  • A comprehensive list of what is included in the project
  • A list of what is specifically excluded (out of scope) from the project
  • Clearly defined acceptance criteria for each scope item
  • Any constraints and assumptions that relate to scope items and/or how these are to be delivered

2 – Scope Control

  • Keep on top of any and all change discussions, rumors, and hallway banter that you may hear. It is easy for these to be escalated, and before you know it, your sponsor or customer may be expecting some new project deliverables with out you knowing it.
  • Use a formal Change Control process for all changes no matter the size or impact on budget, time, resources, etc.

 3 – Verify Scope Throughout

  • As deliverables are completed, get them approved by your own team and then verified by the sponsor/customer as well. By doing this you will be sure that the team is on target with project scope and expectations.