South East Training - The Project Management Toolkit
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Establishing the Project Scope
One of the most common causes of project failure is ‘scope creep’. This is where a project mushrooms, out of control, with new requirements being added without proper consideration of the impact this will have on the project outcomes. It stands to reason that if new requirements are added, the project will require additional time and resources, or something else has to be sacrificed to accommodate the additional work.
It is the project manager’s responsibility to ensure the project team has a very clear understanding of the project’s scope from the outset, and this is monitored throughout the project to ensure creep does not occur. If it is necessary to expand the scope, as sometimes happens, then the plan needs to be adjusted accordingly and additional resources procured as appropriate.
In defining the scope at the beginning of the project, it is important that all aspects of the project are considered, not just the deliverables, and that those elements that stakeholders might assume are part of the project but which are not, are also identified. So, if the project is to launch a new marketing campaign in Europe it is probably wise to identify any European countries that will not be included for legislative, economic or logistical reasons. Similarly, if a project has to be paid for out of a particular budget, it may be important to emphasis that there are no other sources of funding. This approach helps manage stakeholder expectations.
The Scoping Tool
Perhaps one of the most useful and yet simplest tools for managing projects is the scoping tool. The tool is best used by a group.
Consider the following example. It concerns a joint conference between HM Treasury and HMRC. It is fictitious. Also note that the diagram is far from complete. A real example is likley to have twice or three times as many elements once completed.