Monday 2 May 2022

What is the tool for determining the content of the project?


The content of the project is what the project includes, and what it consists of. Project content management is a fairly large area of knowledge, owning which the Project Manager determines what is included in the project and what remains outside its scope.

The purpose of the project content process is to have a clear and unambiguous understanding of the scope and scope of the project, including the most accurate description of the status of the project, the organization and its participants at the time of project completion and achievement of its results.

The content of the project includes the following aspects that describe and define the project as accurately and unambiguously as possible for all participants:

- description and justification of the reasons and opportunities for the satisfaction of which the project is launched;

- objectives and results of the project;

- the impact of the project on the strategic goals of the organization;

- options for the implementation of the project, possible approaches;

- boundaries that clearly define what is included in the project and what remains outside the project;

- the product (or products) to be created during the implementation of the project;

- requirements for the product, its functionality, structure, composition, etc .;

- criteria that will characterize the achievement (non-achievement) of the goals and results of the project;

- assumptions and assumptions adopted in the draft;

- constraints that may affect the project, its implementation and success.


Process Results

The result of the process of determining the content of the project should be a clear understanding of the framework of the project boundaries, which will become the basis for further development and planning of the project.

The documentary result of the process should be a document describing the content of the project.

Various documents are used to describe the content of the project.

Documents that describe various aspects of project content.

- Presentation of the project;

- Concept;

- Feasibility Study (FSC);

- Terms of reference;

- Specifications;

- Design and estimate documentation;

- Drawings.

For large, complex and unique projects, it is recommended to develop a separate document describing the content of the project.

The content of the project is the presence in the project of those works that need to be performed in order to get the desired result.

Thus, the content needs to be managed and controlled throughout the entire life cycle of the project, to ensure that unnecessary ones that are not related to the desired result of the project do not appear in the list of necessary works. Or some side effects related to another project.

It is also worth distinguishing between the content of the project and the content of the product: in the first case, these are the works that need to be performed to obtain the desired result (product, service), in the second case, these are the functions and characteristics of the result.

In the process of determining the content, a detailed document appears, which reflects the goals and objectives of the design work.

Do not forget that various alternative methods can be used to achieve one result, so you should consider the issue more broadly, from all sides, so as not to miss more profitable opportunities.

After the project charter has been developed and approved, the requirements are collected and documented, a description of the content of the project can be drawn up. It already contains more information about the project, and it is more detailed.

A well-written description of the content of the project is also important because it will later be the basis for plans and decisions. While with poorly defined goals, significant risks can arise.

The more detailed and unambiguous the points of the project content sound, the easier it is to determine later that the project is completed, that is, all the requirements have been met and all the goals have been achieved.

But we all understand that in the course of the project life cycle there is more and more clarifying information that must be taken into account when supplementing and detailing the content of the project, if necessary, coordinating with stakeholders.

The content of the project includes:

  • Description of the content of the project;
  • Criteria for accepting the result;
  • Project boundaries (what is included in the project and what is not);
  • Project Limitations;
  • Project assumptions.


We will talk about the description of the content of the project, the criteria for accepting the result and the boundaries of the project below.

Description of the content of the project

The project description includes a fairly high-level description of what results should be obtained. 


By and large, this is the next level of detail of the content that was given in the charter of the project. It is important to include here what you need to do or produce to get the result. For example, if you implement a new information system, the content of the project will include:

  • The system itself (here is a list of its components).
  • Rights in the system that are configured according to the approved business process.
  • Technical support of the system (servers, connection to users' machines).
  • A set of documentation (here is the list) to support and develop the solution.
  • Trained users.
  • Trained support professionals who will support all this kindness.
  • Updated regulatory documents of the company (for example, the procedure for working with debtors).

Criteria for acceptance of the project result

For each of the elements of the project content given above, it is indicated how the customer and we ourselves will understand that the result really meets expectations? This is usually the most difficult part of describing the content of the project, because the degree of uncertainty is still too high, and you need to negotiate already here, on the shore, before the work begins.

The real art is to formulate the criteria in such a way that they are really convenient to use and do not cause discrepancies.

For example, for the "Trained users" element (subcategory "Trained accountants for working with debtors"), the acceptance criterion can be "An accountant can perform the following operations: entering a reconciliation act, agreeing on an account, etc. independently in no more than 1 minute."

In addition to what the project team will do during its implementation, it is very important to determine what it will not do.

The figure below schematically shows the definition of the project boundaries.

Define project boundaries

In the course of describing the boundaries of the project, all the points that may be implied as part of the project, but are not (again, ideally, you are just detailing what you previously wrote in the project charter).

Continuing the above example, the content of the project includes user training, but does not include business trips of the project team to train accountants in the regions or the organization of business trips of these accountants for training in New York (the customer will have to take care of this himself).

Content management is also advisable because it allows you to control the amount of effort and money aimed at obtaining results. What if a huge amount of resources, efforts, time were spent on the implementation of the project - and the result, to put it mildly, is not worth it?

Well-written project content is one of the fundamental successes of the project and an excellent communication tool that the project manager should be able to use for the benefit of this project.

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