Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Two Inputs to Project Scope Definition

Project success can depend on how well you define the scope of your project, but defining project scope can be a daunting task. Is there any information that can give you a running start on this critically important activity?

The answer is yes. Two source documents—project constraints and project assumptions—are important inputs to scope definition. These documents are typically produced during scope planning activities.

1. Project constraints
One source document that contains information required for scope definition is project constraints. Constraints are factors that limit the management team's options when it comes to scope. It is important that project managers understand the constraints facing their projects so they can adapt their definitions to overcome any limitations. Two types of constraints are described below.

A fixed budget in a contract is an important consideration during scope definition. For example, you may have to use lower-quality supplies due to limited funds.

Regulatory constraints also can limit your options. For example, design specifications may have to be altered to adhere to the regulation laws of a city or state.

2. Project assumptions
The second source document that contains a list of information required for scope definition is project assumptions. Assumptions are factors that, for scope definition purposes, will be considered to be true, real, or certain. It also is important to note that assumptions generally involve a certain degree of risk.
Assumptions that can affect scope definition involve the expectations surrounding the project. When defining the scope, it is important for the project manager to ensure that everyone involved in the project has the same expectations as to deliverables, final product, and roles and responsibilities.

Project constraints and assumptions are two important inputs to scope definition. Not only will they help you set project boundaries, but they also will help you ensure that everyone involved in the project has the same expectations.


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