We have covered Planning Scope and Collect requirements in our previous article and we will continue looking into Scope management in this article also. Next in line with scope management is Define Scope. Define Scope is the process of developing detailed description of project. Inclusions and exclusions of the requirements will be mentioned here. Out of all collected requirements which requirements have to be included or excluded from the scope is mentioned in detailed here. In order to develop detailed requirement description we need the already prepared requirement documents, Scope management plan as inputs to this process. Along with them we also need project charter and Organizational Process assets which will give us additional information related to project or product we are developing. Project charter provides high level information like project description its desired characteristics, pre-requisites to get the approval etc., and Organizational process assets will give information on policies, procedures, templates to use, knowledge from previous projects, lessons learnt.
So to summarize Scope Management plan, Requirement documents, Project charter, and Organizational process assets forms inputs to this process.
Now what are the outputs of this process?
Recollect what is this process for? It is to define or develop detailed project requirements. So that will be primary output. But, we already have project requirement documents created and we are taking it as input to this process. Yes, the same set of documents (requirement documents) will be updated with more detailed requirements or another version of the same documents will be created. In either case it is updating the requirement documents with greater details. When the requirements are being looked in depth, then there might be a chance in change of requirements and it may result in change of scope in turn. So, Project Scope Statement is also an output of this process.
So project scope statement and updated requirement documents are the outputs to this process.
It is a well-known concept that inputs are used and outputs are produced by using or following some tools and techniques. These T&T may differ from process to process depending on the kind of process we are in and type of inputs we are taking. Let us see the T&T we use in this process of Define Scope.
- Expert Judgment: Used to analyse the existing and available information to develop project scope statement. Experienced professionals (internal & External), senior people in the organization, Project Managers of similar projects and many other suitable people may be consulted for their advice.
- Product Analysis: This is with those projects which has product(S) as deliverables. Product analysis includes system analysis, requirement analysis, systems engineering, value analysis, etc.,
- Alternatives Generation: in this technique as many solutions as possible are identified and techniques like brainstorming, analysis of alternatives are used to select the most suitable ones.
- Facilitated workshops:Different people with variety of expectations, experiences and from different fields participate. These workshops will be very intensive in nature as a cross functional and common understanding / agreement is the goal.
Now it is clear on inputs, T&T and outputs. Let us spend some time in understanding the contents of outputs. First one is project scope statement. The level and depth of information provided in scope statement defines the work that will be performed and how well the project manager can control the scope. Below are contents of scope statement in general.
- Scope description
- Acceptance Criteria
- Project Exclusions
Next is Project Document Updates. Below are some of the contents.
- Stakeholder register
- Requirements documentation
- Traceability matrix.
Once we are done with this process of defining the Scope, we will have detailed scope statement and updated requirement documents in hand and it is the perfect time to start with next process Create Work Breakdown Structure. In this process we will divide the high level requirements into smaller deliverables. Dividing this work into smaller unit is for better working and effective management. It also provides a well formed and structured vision of requirements. The whole process of dividing requirements into smaller and manageable work packets is called Create WBS (Create Work Breakdown Structure). As we are used to identifying inputs, let us do the same. Work break down structure is a process in which requirements are divided into smaller work packets. That is what we have just learnt. am I right?
Then what will be one of the inputs? Yes, you are right. A requirement document is one of the inputs. As we are taking updated requirement documents to decompose into small parts, we need to have an idea on the inclusions and exclusions of requirements. So scope management plan and scope statement forms other two inputs and most of the times we see common inputs which are Organizational Process assets and Enterprise environmental factors.
So in short, Requirement documents, Scope Statement, Scope management plan, Enterprise environmental factors, and Organizational Process assets are the inputs to Crete WBS process.
Now what are the outputs? Just think!
Once the requirements are broken down into smaller and manageable parts, it is progressed for approval. WBS is a hierarchical decomposition of the total work to be carried out. Each descending level of WBS represents a more detailed level of information regarding deliverable.
- Each work packet is assigned to a control account
- Unique identifier is established the work packet from code of accounts
- These identifiers provides a structure for hierarchical summation of costs, schedule and resource information.
- Scope, Budget, actual cost, and schedule are integrated and EVM is performed for performance measurement using the control account.
- Control points are created at selected management points in WBS.
- Each control account may cover one or more than one work packets, but each work packet should be associated with only one control account.
- A control account may include one or more planning packages.
- A planning package is a WBS component below the control account with known work content but without detailed schedule activities.
WBS dictionary provides very detailed info on deliverable, activity and schedule of each component in WBS. Information in WBS dictionary may include:
- Code of account identifier
- Description of work
- Assumptions and constraints
- Responsible organization
- Schedule milestones
- Associated Schedule Activities
- Resource required
- Cost estimates.
- Quality requirements.
- Acceptance criteria.
- Technical References.
- Agreement Information.
Project document Updates:
Requirement documents may get updates due to approved changes or if they are the result of WBS process. In both the cases project documents will be updated. It is clear on inputs and outputs and now it is time for tools and techniques. We know the WBS is dividing project requirements into hierarchical and detailed sub levels and the process of dividing or splitting the high level requirements into small and more manageable work packets is called DECOMPOSING. In this process work packet is the lowest level of the WBS for which cost and schedule can be estimated. Decomposing generally involves:
- Identify and analyse deliverables.
- Organize the WBS
- Decompose upper level items in WBS to lower level detailed components.
- Assigning identification codes to WBS components
- Verifying the decomposition is appropriate.
If you have never worked on creating a WBS, please refer to page 129 in PMBOK 5 to see snap-shot of WBS. Discussing on template and formats is out of the scope for this discussion.
Expert judgment is often used to analyse the information required to decompose. Judgment is applied at technical detail level to understand the complexity of the deliverable and take a decision.
Now we know that expert judgment and decomposing are two techniques used in create WBS process. We suggest having a good reading on WBS and WBS dictionary.
Questions & Answers
- Your team is referring to a document with details about work packet, deliverable, Schedule and other detailed information to understand the current status of a particular deliverable. What is the document your team is referring?
- Work Breakdown structure
- WBS Dictionary
- Requirement Documents
- Detailed scope Statement
Correct Answer: B [WBS dictionary is the place where all the mentioned information is captured]
- What is the process of dividing or subdividing the requirements to smaller and manageable work packets for which a cost and schedule can be estimated?
- Create WBS
- Requirement Prioritization
Correct Answer: D [Decomposition is the explained process in the question].
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