Scope Management – Part 1


“Scope” is a common term we use in our day to day life. I mean in our day to day professional life. It simply means, what is for you and what is not for you? To speak in terms of project management the term “Scope” mainly speaks about requirements. What are the requirements we are asked to work on and what are the requirements we are not supposed to work on or accept? These two questions are what we will be discussing all through scope management. To help the organization to not to waste resources, reduce cost, meet timelines as a PM you are expected to work on only what is required and Project Scope Management process will help you to achieve that.

Project Scope Management includes the process to ensure that the project includes all the work required and only the work required to complete the project successfully. – PMBOK 5 page 105.

Understanding the terms “Scope” is also dependent on the fact whether you are working on a project or a product. Product Scope is features and functionalities that make the product as desired by business, but project scope is the work performed to deliver a product or service with specified functionalities or features. At times product scope is included in project scope.

Realizing the vastness of these concepts, I would like to keep it very simple, straight and to the point.

Given below are different processes that collectively form Scope Management.

  1. Plan Scope Management
  2. Collect Requirements
  3. Define Scope
  4. Create WBS
  5. Validate Scope
  6. Control Scope

By looking at the order in which they are presented above, please don’t think that they occur individually. They happen to interact with each other and also with the processes of other knowledge areas you would have already gone through or will be going through. Let us quickly start looking into individual processes.


Plan Scope Management:

What is there to manage? If you look at the processes above collecting requirements is second one and we are planning Scope management in first place. So, it is an expected question. Readers! Please remember that we are not planning what to manage in this process, but we are making out how to manage? Plan Scope Management process creates scope management plan that clearly states how the scope is defined, validated and controlled. It acts like a guide to the project manager to manage the scope throughout the project. If you need to have a very clear and useful scope management plan then you should have clear understanding on below:

  1. Understanding on project context, expected product or service and other related information.
  2. What is happening in every knowledge area and overall.
  3. Organizational culture, Conditions under which we are working, Administrative things , etc.,
  4. Policies, Procedures, Lessons learnedprevious project information availability.

Yes, yes, yes….Hold on! I know you are making it out what we are speaking about. It is straight. Information mentioned in the first point is found in PROJECT CHARTER, second point is found in PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLAN (along with subsidiary plans), third point is found in ENTERPRISE ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS and the Last is ORGANIZATIONAL PROCESS ASSETS.

As the required information is found in them they will form the inputs to Plan Scope Management process, it is that simple. So, now we are clear about inputs to this process. Let us see what the outputs are. Question yourself and try to answer what will be the outputs from this process? [Hint: try to use common sense]

There you are! Plan Scope Management will produce Scope Management Plan.

As we are mainly speaking about requirements which are in scope and not in scope, Requirement Management Plan will also be another output from this process.

It is a well-known fact that every subsidiary plan is part of project management plan and it stays true with scope management plan also. Scope management plan will mainly concentrate on how a scope will be defined, monitored, controlled and verified. Below are some of the components of the scope management plan.

  1. Process for creating detailed scope statement
  2. Process for enabling WBS creation from scope statement.
  3. Process for maintaining and approving WBS.
  4. Process for obtaining formal acceptance of completed deliverables.
  5. Process for accepting changes to the scope.

As we know that scope management mainly revolved around requirements, we need to know the components of requirement management plan also. Below are the components of requirement management plan.

  1. Planning, tracking and reporting requirements.
  2. Impact analysis, Accepting and initiating changes, Planning, tracking and reporting changes
  3. Level of authorization required to approve changes.
  4. Prioritizing the requirements.
  5. Maintaining traceability matrix.

So now we have understood scope management process and the inputs it takes and outputs it produces. But, what are the ways followed or techniques used to produce the outputs what this process produces. If you observe carefully, this process mainly requires experience and lots of discussions with stakeholders. So it is very straight, Expert Judgment and Meetings are the tools & techniques to use.

Now, let us discuss the second part of scope management. In the previous process we understood that scope management is to do with requirement, and this process mainly speaks about what happens to the requirements, next let us discuss COLLECT REQUIREMENTS.Requirement is for the project that is existing.Collect requirements is the process of determining, documenting and managing stakeholder expectations. This process makes the base for managing the scope.

Let us understand the inputs to this process quickly and for that let us answer some questions.

What are we doing? Managing Scope
What is scope mainly related to? Requirements.
Where from we get requirements? Stakeholders.
Where will we find stakeholders? Stake holder register.

So, we are managing scope of the requirements from stakeholders. So, Scope management plan, Requirement management plan and Stakeholder management plan will form the inputs. Along with these, PROJECT CHARTER is also an input as it gives basic or high level information on the project.

One of the outputs of this process will be the description of individual requirements and how they meet the business objectives. Initially they are at a high level but they will be detailed at granular level as we progress in the project. Requirements needs to measurable, achievable, complete, consistent, and testable and accepted by stakeholders. This process is called as Requirements Documentation. Below are the components of the requirement documentation.

  • Business requirements (Objectives for traceability, rules Guiding principles)
  • Stakeholder requirements (Impacts to other organizational areas, Impacts to outside entities, communication and reporting requirements)
  • Solution requirements (Functional, Non Functional, Technology, Compliance, Support , Training, Quality requirements)
  • Project requirements (Service Levels, Performance Levels, Safety Levels, Compliance…etc.)
  • Transition Requirements
  • Assumptions, dependencies and constraints.

Another output of this process is Traceability matrix.It is a grid (Excel sheet for our understanding) in which the requirements are linked with respective deliverables. Linking in the sense requirements are documented against respective deliverables. This helps to track the requirements throughout the project and guarantee that all the agreed requirements are delivered without fail at the end of project. Tracing includes the following:

  • Business Goals, Objectives
  • Project objectives
  • Project Scope
  • WBS
  • Design
  • Test Strategy and scenarios
  • High Level requirements.

Traceability matrix is a common tool which is well known to everyone;if you are not aware of any template of traceability matrix please refer to page 119 of PMBOK 5. It is clear now about inputs and out puts of collect requirements process. We need to understand now the tools and techniques used in generating the outputs. Given below are the T&T:

  • Interview: Speak to stakeholders directly with predefined and spontaneous questions to collect their requirements.
  • Focus Groups: A trained moderator guides the group formed by including stakeholders, SMEs, and other experienced project professionals and records their expectations and opinions.
  • Facilitated workshops:Workshops aims at bringing business subject matter experts and project (development) team together for them to discuss and understand the requirements in detail.
  • Group Creativity Techniques: Techniques like Brain storming, nominal group technique, Mind Mapping, affinity diagram and multi criteria decision analysis are used.
  • Group Decision making techniques: Unanimity, Majority, Plurality, Dictatorship are used.
  • Questionnaires and Surveys: Set of questions will be distributed to large number of respondents and their responses are analysed and a decision is made.
  • Observations: Direct viewing of individuals while they perform their work.
  • Prototypes: Method of obtaining early feedback on requirements by providing working model of the deliverable.
  • Benchmarking: Comparing internal processes to other successful organizations or entities to identify the required improvements and provide a base of performance measurement.
  • Context Diagrams: These diagrams visually show the business process with inputs to the process, actors providing the input and the actors receiving the output.
  • Document Analysis:Analysing the existing requirements and identifying information relevant to the requirements.

With that we have completed Plan Scope Management and Collect requirements process. We will cover more concepts in our next article on Scope.

Questions & Answers

  1. Your team is in the process of securing feedback from important stakeholders and for that they have distributed a working version of the deliverable for the stakeholders to have hands on. A meeting is scheduled later in the week to discuss on stakeholders opinion on the working product which is provided to them for their experience. In fact what technique you are using and in which process?
    • Prototyping
    • Prototyping in Collect Requirements Process
    • Focus Groups
    • Group Decision making Techniques.

    Correct Answer: B [Prototyping is the technique discussed but the question is asking about process also]

  2. What is the technique in which multiple ideas related to project requirements are generated and collected which are later used?
    • Affinity Diagram
    • Mind Mapping
    • Multi criteria Decision.
    • Brainstorming.

    Correct Answer: D [Brainstorming is the technique where ideas are generated and collected for later consideration]


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About Sparsh Goyal

A passionate IT professional, Sparsh Goyal boasts of 4.3+ years of experience. He has worked for various projects under AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Spring Boot, Python, Microservices, RESTful, RESTFUL APIs/SOAP, Scripting, Shell and JAVA. He is also working towards gaining proficiency in Oracle Cloud PaaS, DevOps, SaaS and Docker/Kubernetes. His primary and secondary skills validate his relentless pursuits of expanding his horizon and developing more as an IT person. He boasts of the following certifications: *Google Professional Cloud Security Engineer. *AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Associate. *Oracle certified JAVA programmer.
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