Establishing A Realistic Project Scope

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Establishing the scope of an initiative is among the most important tasks that project managers have to handle. Essentially, this means the supervisors have to understand the objectives laid out for their assignments, determine the necessary resources and establish a realistic timetable for completion.
Without a scope, it can be nearly impossible for a staff to make noticeable progress on a project because there aren’t any clear guidelines. Managers who don’t complete this responsibility during the early planning stages will likely hamstring productivity.
Learning how to establish scope is a necessity for every project manager. Below is a look at this feature and other factors that can affect it.
Defining objectives
According to CIO, objectives need to be defined before the scope. This is because it’s nearly impossible to determine how a project will be completed if managers don’t know what goals they’re supposed to be working toward.
Of course, very few projects share the same intended results. Where one might lead to the development of a new product for an external client, another may be an internal service that the company needs to enhance daily operations.
Managers must understand what their stakeholders ultimately want upon completion. When an assignment comes in, leaders should take time to read over the specifications and learn what clients are asking for so that the scope can be developed.
The scope statement
In an excerpt from “Project Management For Dummies, 4th Edition,” Stanley Portny wrote that managers must write scope statements for both themselves and their clients. The document outlines why the project must be completed, what the intended results are, the guidelines for the finished product, any notable restrictions and basic assumptions.
Portny goes on to explain that the scope statement is basically an agreement between clients and production teams when combined with other project materials. The resource shows stakeholders exactly what they can expect and creates accountability for managers and their employees. All workers have to live up to the expectations laid out in the scope statement to ensure that their clients are highly satisfied.
Further, the restrictions covered in the document show stakeholders how they’ll have to support workers moving forward. When there’s an issue with resources or funding, buyers have to provide necessary assistance to ensure that their projects can be completed on schedule.
By identifying risks in the scope statement, managers are taking a proactive approach toward eliminating issues and blame. Because the problems were listed in the document, supervisors can note whether stakeholders actually took steps to support their projects or left the team to develop its own solution.
What about creep?
Scope creep is a common element that every project manager has to deal with on occasion. This when a project grows beyond its initial design, meaning that the plan has to be scrapped in favor of a new one that accounts for new challenges and objectives.
TechRepublic’s Shelley Doll wrote in a report that creep usually leads to project failure. The issue can easily lead to problems like missed deadlines and going over budget.
The best way to deal with scope creep is to start preparing for it near the beginning of a project. Managers should build additional time into their schedules and flag as many risks as possible in their scope statements in order to minimize creep.
The worst part about creep is that it’s completely unavoidable. Every team will likely have to deal with some expansion of a project at some point, which will cause confusion during the production phase. Managers need to do their best to prevent creep from having a negative impact on their initiatives.

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