Sunday 28 November 2021

Importance of Scope in project management

The concept of project scope consists of two aspects, one is the product range, i.e. the characteristics or functions contained in the product or service, and the other is the project scope, i.e. the work that must be done to deliver a product or service with specified characteristics and functions.

in determining the scope, the first step is to determine what is ultimately produced, that is, the product range, and what clearly definable characteristics it has. It is important to note that features must be clear and expressed in an accepted form, such as words, charts, or certain criteria, that can be understood by project participants and must not be vague or ambiguous. On this basis, it is further clear what needs to be done, i.e. project scope management to produce the desired product, that is, the product range determines the scope of the project.

As we can see from the definition of project scope management, project scope management is the basis of all project management because it determines what needs to be done to complete the project and what needs not be done. Without defining the scope of the project, it is not possible to define what needs to be done, let alone manage the progress, quality, cost, risk, etc. of the project.

The Importance of IT Project Scope Management

In real-world project management, you can see many examples of project failures due to poor project scope management. Let's look at the following example:

In 1992, a large enterprise in china decided to build a 38-storey building with an estimated investment of 200 million yuan and a duration of two years. Six months later the company decided to change to 54 floors. Later, because another city in the same province planned to build 63 floors of the country's tallest building, in order to make the building become an iconic building in the city where the enterprise is located, the enterprise instead built 64 floors.

In 1994, some people thought that "64" was unlucky, so it was changed to 70 storeys, and the investment increased to 1.2 billion yuan. In 1996, the building completed the basic works, but this time because the enterprise has transferred a large amount of money to other industries, and the investment failed, the building funds are in a hurry, the company has a financial crisis. in 1997, because the building failed to complete on schedule, the buyer asked for a refund and the building was shut down, which eventually led to the survival of the company. this example is a typical manifestation of a project scope setting that is too large, and an unrealistic project whose goals far exceed its own capabilities but require timely completion is an important reason for the project's failure.

While it may be rare in it project management to have as serious a consequence as mentioned in the example above, problems resulting from project scope management are common. For example, it project management is the most prone to the spread of the scope phenomenon, the general project manager is relatively easy to be aware of large-scale changes, so that timely measures, but for small changes are rarely so sensitive. In this case, there is often a tendency to add additional work over the course of a project without careful consideration. when the project accepts too many small changes, all of which are combined, the project team realizes that too much extra work needs to be done, but it is too late to take action, over budget, and delays are inevitable.

Such a situation often has something to do with some of the misconceptions in project management, usually everyone says "customer is god", so that the project team takes the customer as the real "god", lacks the courage to say "no", from the beginning is difficult to communicate equally, so that there is a demand, or even to please users to do some additional work or "gold-plated" projects.

This is actually and the project scope that has been repeatedly emphasized in project scope management is.' the work contained in the project, and limited to the work contained in the project, "is very different." from here we can see that project scope management is an important factor affecting the success of the project. The importance of scope management is also reflected in another aspect, that is, project scope management is the management basis of time, cost, risk, etc.

We know that there are four mutually constrained conditions that affect the success or failure of a project, namely scope, time, cost, and quality. but for an enterprise's formal project, to meet customer requirements is the basic goal, under this premise, the quality of the project is very difficult to steal materials, the result of sacrifice of quality, light is not to recover money, serious is the loss of users, the most deadly impact on the image of the entire company.

Therefore, under the premise that the quality requirements can not be changed too much, the increase in scope will directly lead to the extension of the duration, and in the actual project implementation process, the extension of the project duration will directly lead to the increase of project costs.

In fact, there is virtually no way to make a reliable project plan and project budget without determining the scope of the project, or if the scope of the project is not under control. in addition, for it projects, often users do not have a clear understanding of the scope of the entire project in the early stage, how to do a good job of project management?

Only to help customers clarify their real needs, to achieve prioritization, will provide a solid foundation for the follow-up of the project; in turn, failure to do the job well can have a significant impact on the entire project. so we say that scope management is really the first and most critical step in project management.


In IT project scope management First, it is not an easy task for IT projects to manage the entire process of project scope management, including start-up, planning, definition, verification, and control.

in order to sign the contract before the sales staff in order to be able to sign the bill as soon as possible, often to the user will have some unrealistic commitment, wait until the contract is signed, in the customer's impression that our products are all-encompassing, so that customers produce a lot of unrealistic expectations, which is actually quite disadvantageous to the follow-up project work.

After signing a contract, if the project team and the user do not have a gradual project scope interaction, reduce expectations of the process, it is easy to conflict of views, which has an impact on the progress of the project, serious or even stranded. the author himself has encountered users complaining: "this seems to be not what you said when you sell", and do not agree with the system on schedule.

Secondly, domestic contracts are generally relatively simple, rarely have clear provisions on the scope of the project, especially the work T software project, which causes the scope of the project there is a great deal of uncertainty, leading to a lot of hidden risks. We often find that when a project is implemented, there are one or the other differences and conflicts between the customer and the software company, either because the customer keeps asking the software company to do work beyond the scope of the original agreement, or if it is different from what was originally agreed upon, or when the software company refuses to provide the work that should actually be done on the grounds that it is outside the scope of the contract, which should be avoided in either case, but which is actually difficult to do without clarity. Third, because the acceptance criteria for the project also do not have a very consistent statement, the project on schedule acceptance is a huge challenge.

Finally, IT scope management is more difficult because the characteristics of the software products themselves decided, unlike color TV or refrigerator, see what kind of time, buy back is what kind of, the function is neither less than when looking, buy back can not add new features. Software products are different, invisible, untouchable, and "soft", customers will ask for new features at any time. Thus for IT items. scope management becomes particularly difficult, especially for pure software projects, and therefore special R is important.

How to do a good job in IT project scope management

Then how to do a good job in IT item management? The foundation for project scope management is a scientific scope management process, which is defined strictly in the Project Management Knowledge System Guide (PMBOK) of the Project Management Association (PMBOK), which includes scope planning, scope definition, scope validation, and scope change. Without a scientific methodology to guide, it will be a difficult process to have a strict control over the entire scope of the project, and following several processes specified by PMBOK, we have found it easy to manage the scope of the project.

The scope framework of the project is determined through the start-up process of scope management, the scope planning determines the scope management plan of the project, the scope definition is formulated in detail, and the project scope specification is provided for future project decision-making, while the project verification and project control process ensures that the scope management can be implemented on schedule. Through such a scientific management process to ensure that scope management can be truly effective implementation.

In the various processes of project scope management, the author thinks that the first thing to pay attention to is the project start-up process and scope planning process, the project charter determined by the start-up process, and the framework of project scope is stipulated, which is an important basis for project follow-up management.

The project charter also provides for the rights of the project manager, the responsibilities of the project team members and other stakeholders in the project, which is also a clear provision for the future project scope management of the various roles how to do their jobs, to ensure that follow-up work can be carried out in a more orderly manner.

The scope specification and scope management plan identified during the scope plan process further clarify the criteria for measuring whether a project or project phase has been successfully completed, etc. The scope description confirms or establishes a project-wide consensus among the participants on the project day as a documented benchmark for future project decisions.

Usually it has a rough line convention for the scope of the project, and the scope plan goes further and refined on this basis. the old saying cloud: "pre-ruled stand, not pre-ruled waste!" the biggest risk for a project is in the early start-up and planning phases of the project, which are also the least costly stages for change. Through good communication and communication, on the one hand, you can clarify the objectives and scope of the project, in order to facilitate the arrangement of follow-up work, on the other hand, can make up for the sales phase in order to achieve sales purposes to do some unrealistic commitments, reasonable reduction of customer expectations, and then through step-by-step implementation, gradually improve the equivalent, law, to ensure that the system can be completed in accordance with customer requirements on schedule.

Of course, getting started and planning is only the first step, for some large projects, the implementation cycle can be very long, the project implementation period with objective conditions change and other factors, the scope of the project changes almost inevitable, it projects because of its invisible characteristics. 


In addition, no good plan can be set in stone, so change is inevitable. therefore, in the implementation process also need to do a good job of scope verification and scope change control work, through scope verification can ensure that the scope of the project can be better managed and controlled. Through scope change control, identify the factors that cause the scope change, so that early action can be taken, if within the scope of the project, need to assess the impact of the change and how to deal with the measures, 


The affected parties should be clear about their impact, to influence the change to ensure that the change is beneficial to the project; if the change is outside the scope of the project, then business people need to negotiate with the user to see if they increase costs or discard the change.


Scientific scope management is the first step to project success, if you can do a good job of project scope management, I believe that the IT project cycle, it is half successful. Because in the case of scope determination, time and cost are actually measurable and plannable. 


To do a good job in project scope management, it laid the foundation of time management, cost management and quality management. I believe that the risk of the whole project will be well controlled. Of course, as far as a project is concerned, after all, it is a whole process, it is not enough to do a good job in project scope management, only in accordance with the requirements of the project cycle, do a good job of all stages of the work, in order to ensure the ultimate success of the project.

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