Project Management Best Practice 2 – Define What is Not In Scope
All project managers know one of the greatest risks to the on-time, on-budget completion of their project is scope creep; the gradual expansion of functionality, broadening in organizational application, and/or increase in quality requirements often without a commensurate increase in project resources or duration. Subsequently, project managers strive to clearly define their project’s scope in order to defend against scope creep. But when doing so, they often forgo an invaluable tool; defining what is outside their project’s scope.[wcm_restrict plans=”41086, 25542, 25653″]
Defining scope establishes the features, characteristics, quantities, and time frames for delivering a project’s products and/or services. Like most communications, however, there will always be some interpretation as to the specifics of a project’s deliverables. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the project manager to, in the clearest, most concise manner possible, specify the project’s parameters. In doing so, the project manager should define both what the product/service is (in scope) and what it is not (out of scope).
Figure 1, Project Scope Uncertainty, illustrates how defining project scope in both positive and negative terms increases scope specificity and subsequently reduces the potential for scope creep. Around each defined project parameter there will exist some difference in interpretation as to the exact qualities of the parameter by those associated with the project. Differences in interpretation will continue well beyond the project’s scope definition to a point where further interpretation variation would appear to be unreasonable. Adding an out of scope definition, however, limits the range of interpretation variation, thereby reducing the overall amount of scope uncertainty and the risk of scope creep over time.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember plans=”41086, 25542, 25653″]
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