Managing and Defining Scope

"Managing and Defining Scope" by Patrick Kennerson


Quality scope definition will mitigate most if not all of these issues…
  • Undefined Deliverables – When deliverables are not clearly identified both in quality and timelines then typically the project has little chance of succeeding. Note that I did not say effort!
  • Scope Changes – Also known as scope creep, controlling scope takes a strong control system integrated in the master schedule, most project manager try and evaluate each request and decide how and if to implement it. Doomed to failure on complex projects.
  • Inadequate resourcing for the Project – A project’s resourcing should be defined and linked to scope as well as integrated into the master schedule. All too often scope, resourcing, and cost never meet in any one common WBS. Also this should be done at lest to level three of the WBS.
  • Lack of Accountability – Complex projects require teams to work towards a common goal, they must understand how their work fits into the whole and a single ownership within the organization linked to the scope must be identified. Normally someone with a helicopter view of that scope and budget (control account manager). 
  • Improper Risk Management – Risks management is an important piece of project management, but all too often risk management is reduce to the cataloguing of self incriminating whining. Risks should be linked to scope, and have drop off periods when the risk is retired.
  • Ambiguous Contingency Planning – It's important to know what direction to take in pre-defined "what-if" scenarios. If contingencies are not identified, the entire project can become mired in an unexpected set of knock on effect problems. Dependency management is key to contingency planning. 
  • Impossible Deadlines – The odds of successfully completing a project under unreasonable deadlines are generally not feasible expectations.
  • Loss of Stakeholder confident – Missing millstones deliverables and subjective project reporting will only lead to distrust and aggravation on the part of your client.

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