Project Scope Management

An Overview of Project Scope Management

Do you know around 38% of projects fail to meet the goal due to scope creep? Being one of the common reasons for project failure, project scope management is a vital area that every project manager must work well to ensure that the project is in line with the scope.

A project scope management is a roadmap that will help you to define, manage, validate, and finally control a project’s scope. Not only knowing the importance of project scope management is essential for project managers but also the benefits of project scope management help them to streamline a project. So, Project Management Institute (PMI)® emphasizes this in its PMBOK guide, fifth edition, as part of its PMP exam.

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Hence, if you are working towards your PMP certification, then you must be good to go with project scope management. However, project scope management processes follow its own set of steps that involve specific project scope management tools and techniques. Hence, in this article, we have tried to leverage ideas on features of project scope management.

Understanding the Nature and Scope of Project Management

Project scope management is one of the top project management terms every project manager should be familiar with. But before we discuss project scope management, we must know what is called nature and scope of project management? Because the nature and scope of project management influences project scope management.

Project management is a blend of art and science. In other words, we can say project management involves the scientific method, human relations, and quantitative approaches. And ideally, managers should create only what creates overwhelming values for an organization. In general, the nature and scope of project management are two different aspects, and these are based on concepts which we will describe one by one.

Nature of Project Management

Management is a purposeful activity. It helps to achieve pre-determined goals of an organization. However, project management principles are relative and not absolute and should be applied based on the organization. In general, the nature of project management follows some common rules:

  • Every group activity needs proper management

Every organization needs project managers to efficiently manage teamwork. To achieve its set goals, organizations need physical, and human resources that should be managed with certain industry-followed rules and principals. Hence, the scope of project management comes to every field irrespective of industry domains.

  • Project management – a need for proper resource utilization

Every organization sets a limited cost and labour to achieve the goals. However, without proper resource management, it is impossible to achieve the goals within a given timeframe. Moreover, quality delivery within the timeline is also associated with company reputation.

  • A project manager is an orchestrator in a group activity

While working as a team or group, coordination is a major factor in synchronizing the activities. One of the key purposes of project management is to coordinate between teams to get the job done smoothly.

Scope of Project Management

The scope of management can be broadly categorized into two sections:

  • Based on the management process which includes –

  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Staffing
  • Directing
  • Controlling functions
  • Based on functional areas which include –

  • Financial Management
  • Personnel Management
  • Purchase management
  • Production Management 
  • Maintenance Management
  • Transport Management 
  • Distribution Management
  • Office Management 
  • Development Management 

Project scope management could either be product scope or project scope which is a common concept towards the stakeholders. Hence, the common understanding of nature and scope of management is implemented in the scope of project management.

Also Read: Top 25 PMP Formulas

What is the Importance of Project Scope Management?

As per PMBOK, the definition of project scope management is: “Managing project scope is primarily concerned with defining and controlling what is and is not included in the project.”

So, we can consider the project scope as the boundary within which a team will deliver the project. As a project manager, if you do not define the scope of a project, it will be difficult for you to deliver a successful project and the end result will be a disaster.

To explain it better, we can take the construction of a building on an empty ground as project scope management example. In this scenario, if we do not properly provide a plan for the house, then it is like a project without project scope which can result in anything at the end.

Defining a project scope management is the initial phase in any project planning process. It includes the following steps to develop the framework of the project:

  • Project goals
  • Features
  • Functions
  • Deliverables
  • Tasks
  • Deadlines
  • Costs

The statement of project scope management also clearly defines –

  • Any limitations associated with the proposed solutions
  • Dependencies and assumptions

Hence, in a nutshell, we can say that the benefits of project scope management are multidimensional as the project management

  • Clearly specifies what to deliver
  • Helps project managers to make decisions during the project life cycle
  • Helps managers to get a reference point for decision making
  • Makes smooth project delivery due to clear scope statement

Project Scope Management Processes

As per PMBOK guidelines, there are six project scope management processes that are required to be followed in a proper sequence. The project scope management processes are:

1. Planning of Project Scope Management

This is a very basic step in any project scope management which is created on the basis of the project plan. The project plan is collected as part of the meetings or presentations with the stakeholders. This is an instrumental step as it helps to define, manage, control, and validate the scope of a project. The output of this process is a scope management plan that helps to :

  • Prepare detailed scope statement
  • A roadmap for WBS from scope statement
  • WBS maintenance and approval procedure
  • Formal acceptance procedures for the project deliverables
  • Scope change management.

   Inputs of Plan Scope Management



Project plan

  • NA

Project charter

  • Purpose of the project.
  • Business objectives
  • Assumptions
  • Constraints
  • Project description.
  • Project scope and Boundaries
  • Project Milestones
  • Project deliverables for the project
  • High-level risks
  • Project Authority roles and responsibilities
  • Initial Stakeholder List
  • Requirements for the project 
  • Signatures of the key authorizer of the project

Enterprise environmental factors

  • Organizational structure
  • Organization information systems capability
  • Resources skills and availability
  • Portfolio management processes and policies
  • PMO processes and policies
  • Risk estimation
  • Defect-tracking databases
  • Marketplace conditions
  • Government regulatory laws
  • The financial condition of the market
  • Competitor influence

Organizational process assets

  • Organization policies and guidelines
  • Organization standards
  • Project management policies
  • Safety policies

Outputs of Plan Scope Management



Scope management plan

  • Project scope
  • Product scope
  • Deliverables
  • Out of scope areas
  • Product acceptance criteria
  • Constraints
  • Assumptions

The above list is not limited and may vary based on organization need.

2. Collecting Requirements Process

Once the scope management plan is finalized, based on its input along with stakeholders’ interviews and discussions the requirements management plan is documented. The document represents a set of requirements which include:

  • Functional and non-functional requirements
  • Business requirements
  • Reporting requirements
  • Stakeholder requirements
  • Support training requirements
  • Training requirements
  • Services and quality requirements
  • Project dependencies
  • Project assumptions
  • Project constraints

   Inputs of collect requirements process

  • Scope management plan
  • Stakeholder management plan
  • Stakeholder register
  • Project charter
  • Requirements management plan

   Outputs of collect requirements process

  • Requirements documentation
  • Requirements traceability matrix

project scope management

3. Defining the Project Scope 

The next step is to create a project scope statement which is produced based on the requirement management plan document and the scope management plan. The project scope definition takes the input from the requirement management plan and provides a detailed description of the service or product that is going to be developed as part of the project. The project scope statement describes what part of the project scope is required and what is not. This helps to create a change request if any requirement which is excluded in the requirement plan is asked in the future.

   Inputs of define project scope process

  • Scope management plan
  • Project charter
  • Requirements documentation
  • Organizational process assets

Outputs of define project scope process

  • Project scope statement
  • Project documents updates

4. Creating a Work Breakdown Structure 

Based on the project scope statement and requirements management plan the main task is divided into small chunks to make project delivery smooth and easy. This kind of broken work structure is known as Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).

Inputs of WBS process

  • Scope management plan
  • Project scope statement
  • Requirements plan
  • Enterprise environmental factors
  • Organization process assets

Outputs of the WBS process

  • Scope baseline
  • Project document updates

Preparing for a project management interview? Going through these top 30 Project Management Interview Questions will help you ace the interview.

5. Validating Scope Process 

Not to mention, on-time delivery is essential, but on-time sign off is also an important factor for project closure. Thus scope validation process is major criteria in any project which can assure you to have a process in place that has already reviewed the tasks as described in the work breakdown structure (WBS) before these are sent to the stakeholders for the sign-off.

Inputs of validating scope process

  • Project management plan
  • Requirements documentation
  • Requirements traceability matrix 
  • Requirements for business needs, goals, opportunities and objectives
  • Requirements for project objectives
  • High-level requirements to more detailed requirements
  • Requirements to WBS deliverables
  • Product development requirements
  • Requirements for product design
  • Requirements for test strategy and test scenarios

Outputs of validating scope process

  • Validated deliverables
  • Work performance data

6. Controlling scope process 

This is a post-execution process in a project. This step is mainly required for change control so that if any new request comes up which is beyond project scope that should come through proper change request. Besides, it is also a performance measurement process where gaps are identified against performance reports by validating it with project requirements. This may change the project plan.

Inputs of controlling scope process

  • Project management plan
  • Requirements documentation
  • Requirements traceability matrix
  • Work performance data
  • Organization process assets

Outputs of controlling scope process

  • Work performance information
  • Change requests
  • Project management plan updates
  • Project documents updates
  • Organizational process assets updates

Project Scope Management Tools and Techniques

Each of the above mentioned six project scope management processes uses different tools and techniques which we have listed down in below table.

Project Scope Management Process

Tools and Techniques Used

Plan Scope Management

  • Meetings
  • Data Analysis
  • Expert judgment

Collect Requirements

  • Interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Facilitated workshops
  • Group Creativity Techniques
  • Brainstorming
  • Nominal group technique
  • Idea/mind mapping
  • Affinity diagram
  • Multicriteria decision analysis
  • Group creativity techniques
  • Group decision-making techniques
    • Unanimity (including the Delphi Technique)
    • Majority
    • Plurality
    • Dictatorship
  • Questionnaires and surveys
  • Observations
  • Prototypes
  • Data Gathering
  • Benchmarking
  • Data Analysis
  • Context diagrams
  • Content Diagram
  • Document analysis

Define Scope

  • Expert judgment
  • Product analysis
  • Data analysis
  • Alternatives generation
  • Facilitated workshops

WBS Create

  • Decomposition
  • Expert judgment

Validate Scope

  • Inspection
  • Group decision-making techniques

Control Scope

  • Variance analysis
  • Trend analysis

Final Words

So, the project scope management is what defines the required work and ensure that the required work is done within the given timeframe. It includes a detailed process of scope management, control, and management. The project manager needs to get formal approval on the well-prepared project scope. A proper and effective project scope management helps the project manager to avoid project failure and thus leads to a successful project.

Project management training can help you to explore more on project scope management area. So, if you are preparing for PMP certification, take our PMP certification training to get prepared for the PMP certification exam. Also, our PMP practice tests are based on the real PMP exams, so will help you a lot to check how much you are ready for the real exam.

Wish you the best for your future endeavors!


About Dharmalingam N

Dharmalingam.N holds a master degree in Business Administration and writes on a wide range of topics ranging from technology to business analysis. He has a background in Relationship Management. Some of the topics he has written about and that have been published include; project management, business analysis and customer engagement.

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