Seven Techniques To Sharpen Your Scoping Approach

Posted by Stephanie Hollingsworth | May 23, 2019

Pulling off a large-scale project isn’t easy. The Project Management Institute’s 2018 Pulse of the Profession report estimated that poor project performance is responsible for 9.9% waste per dollar. On the other hand, while no successful project is the same, many elements critical to success are. According to the report, controlling the project’s scope is a universal top driver of a project’s success.

In fact, the PMI found projects that experienced scope creep increased by 9% over the past five years; a reported 52% of projects experienced scope creep or an uncontrolled change in 2018. In my experience, an organization’s ability to control scope generally begins with the project scope documentation, which details the elements of the project, including the objectives, structure, project team, assumptions, deliverables, functional requirements, change control and approval terms.

For every organization and every project — especially in the technology and software spaces — preparing project scope documentation should be standard practice. Currently, that doesn’t appear to be the case: One in four U.K.-based project managers surveyed in Wellingstone’s 2016 State of Project Management Survey said that they “never” or “sometimes” prepare standard scoping documents.

As a CTO, I’ve written thousands of scopes that range from easy 10-minute scopes all the way to very complex ones. So I know preparing just any document — or leveraging a generic document every time — isn’t likely to suffice. Instead, organizations can sharpen their approach to scoping with these seven techniques.

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