Friday, July 4, 2008

Project Product Descriptions and Scope Statements

The product description document, which is an important input to project quality planning, does just what you would expect—it describes the product. Specifically, it describes the product characteristics a project will create. It contains technical information as well as other issues that affect quality planning.

At the beginning of a project, the product description document will be vague. However, as the project evolves and the product characteristics become more complicated, more details will be added to the product description. Some points to keep in mind about the product description documents are listed below.
  • When a supplier does work under contract for a client, the initial product description is provided by the client.
  • The product description needs enough detail to support project planning in later stages.
  • The product description should state the relationship between the product or service and the business need, opportunity, or problem that initiated the project.
Throughout the project, the product description document will be modified to add the details that were unknown when the project first began. This process assists with the development of the quality outputs.

Parts of the product description may be included in the scope statement, which is another important input to quality planning. Scope statements include information on project deliverables and objectives. Specifically, a scope statement is a description of what the stakeholders want. Details about the scope statement are provided below.
  • The scope statement is a written source for making decisions later on in the project.
  • The scope statement confirms that the stakeholders all have the same expectations of the project.
  • The scope statement is a written source for making decisions later on in the project.
  • The scope statement confirms that the stakeholders all have the same expectations of the project.
Just like the product description, the scope statement may need to be revised as the project changes. A scope statement should refer to, or include a description of, the project justification, project product, project deliverables, and project objectives. These four elements of the scope statement are described below.
  • Project justification. The project justification can be taken directly from the product description document. It states the business need that initiated the project.
  • Project product. This is the actual product description. This portion of the scope statement can be taken from the product description document.
  • Project deliverables. The project is considered complete when all the products that make up the project are delivered. If you discover that something has been excluded, you should immediately add it to the scope statement.
  • Project objectives. These are the criteria that mark the success of a project. Project objectives detail costs, schedules, and quality measures.
A clear product description and scope statement confirm that everyone involved in a project has the same expectations. You have to know what your customers really want. Your project's success depends on it.

1 comment:

Halle Bose said...

Knowing what customers really want makes the difference between their seeing the job as a success or making multiple changes. If managers can study their clients and accurately figure out their needs then they can provide for them better.

This is true in the office and out on a site.