Managing project scope is an important skill for project managers in today's business environment.
Project scope management in today's fast-paced and ever-changing business environment is more complex than it may seem. Only 46% company prioritise project management, according to Project Management Institute.
Companies desire projects that are completed smoothly. They want the project runs on time and within budget. However, that rarely happens in reality. Many PMs experience project scope creep, which ResearchGate stated occurs in 52%of projects.
Managing the project scope can prevent scope creep issues. PMs can successfully avoid these issues by documenting all elements and achieving project goals.
What is Project Scope Management?
The project scope management encompasses all the project elements. The elements include tasks, objectives, outputs, timelines, and budgets.
Defining the project scope is a crucial aspect of the planning process, as it outlines team responsibilities, services or features. The project's scope determines the success factors of the project.
Why is project scope management important?
One of the most challenging tasks for project managers is managing the expectations of stakeholders and clients. However, project scoping keeps every job on track despite setbacks and unforeseen changes.
For instance, you may have clearly defined plans and started projects. But along the way, stakeholders had different ideas and concepts. It can change business priorities and project directions.
Remember that you don't have a large team, sufficient funds and time resources. As the project grows, you will run out of these resources. Project scope management can assist you in adhering as closely as possible to the original project plan with:
1. An accurate budget
Estimating project costs is difficult if the terms and objectives evolve and change. The PM should define the project's scope to determine a reasonable budget. Additionally, the PM should keep track of the progress of each step to monitor the budget.
2. A realistic timeline
PwC found that only 2.5% of companies completed 100% of their 10,600 projects. Most missed deadlines and were over budgeted. Good scope management helps you keep projects on track by the deadlines. When the whole team understands the requirements, no time is wasted.
3. An efficient project
We've all experienced never-ending projects. Clients and stakeholders have high expectations for the project's outcome. Meanwhile, the team tends to agree to all requests without realising the deviations from the original plan. Defining the project scope guides the development and keeps it manageable.
8 Strategies to Manage Your Project Scope
We cannot see what will happen in the future. It makes defining the project scope more challenging. So, how can we effectively manage the details and impact of a project? Here are eight strategies to consider:
1. Planning the project scope
It all starts with project planning. If you create a detailed plan, it can prevent any potential issues. Create a detailed breakdown of project requirements, including expectations, resources, implementation and communication. Once the requirements are clear, the team can move on to the next stage.
2. Make it visual
The whole team must understand what is and is outside the scope. Some people only focus on what they have but don't identify what they lack. It can lead to potential problems for the project if not addressed.
The project scope includes a timeline, requirements, use cases and features. The biggest challenge was connecting and visualising all these elements. Visualise it with maps, diagrams or flowcharts to make it easier to understand. Although this may take some time, it can improve sales and team understanding.
3. Be transparent with stakeholders about the scope impact
Being transparent is a key trait in effective project management. PMs should prioritise honesty and openness and updates to sponsors and stakeholders. Keep stakeholders informed of the project's progress rather than delivering bad news at a later time. Discuss with stakeholders when things affect the scope of the project. Clear communication with sponsors and stakeholders is crucial.
4. Be mindful of essential changes
You have to understand that not all change is bad. Some changes improve the project's outcome. So, pay attention to what's needed and what's not. Invite the whole team to discuss the suggested changes.
5. Always review the project delivery schedule
Project scoop creep can cause delays in a timeline. For example, revisions to project steps may cause testing to be delayed. Or retail companies may delay delivery times due to logistical problems. Project managers can't postpone the product launch due to internal issues. Therefore, the team must constantly consider the project timeline. Go through the process, update the project plan, reschedule, and then track those changes.
6. Effective communication
Effective communication is vital for successful project execution with minimal errors. Choose the right tool to maintain smooth communication with internal stakeholders. How to communicate well with fellow teams?
- Know your team and stakeholders
- Use effective language
- Use a communications plan
- Explain clearly, concisely and effectively
- Be honest and open
7. Monitor the scope as if it were a problem
Keep your eyes on the project scope at all times. You can detect small or potential changes by monitoring the project continuously. It also provides ideas and insights to create strategies to solve problems if they occur. Documenting every step of the project to be reference material.
8. Use the right tools
Project management tools are reliable tools for managing project scope. Without the right tools, the project is more likely to fail, and the management will be less effective. The PM and team can visualise flow, communication, project progress, and results with tools. Additionally, project management tools allow you to monitor each team member's work on the project. It ensures that everyone knows what needs to be done and that no one is left behind. Make sure to choose project management tools that meet the necessary criteria:
- Communication channels
- Task management
- Documentation and file sharing
- Customer support
PM and team can choose a project management tool using VirtualSpace. It allows you to do collaboration and communication easily from anywhere.
Managing project scope involves many risks, so developing a scope management plan and staying diligent is crucial. Make an effort to understand user needs and engage stakeholders continuously. Follow the eight strategies above to help you manage your project scope.