Scope (project management)

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In project management, the term scope has two distinct uses: Project Scope and Product Scope.

Scope involves getting information required to start a project, and the features the product would have that would meet its stakeholders requirements.

  • Project Scope: "The work that needs to be accomplished to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions."[1]
  • Product Scope: "The features and functions that characterize a product, service, or result."[1]

Notice that Project Scope is more work-oriented (the hows), while Product Scope is more oriented toward functional requirements (the whats).

If requirements aren't completely defined and described and if there is no effective change control in a project, scope or requirement creep may ensue.

When a construction site is being built, the constructor raises a fence on the site defining the boundaries of the construction. This process of building a fence is called scoping. Scope management is the process of defining what work is required and then making sure all of that work – and only that work – is done. Scope management plan should include the detailed process of scope determination, its management and its control. This needs to be planned in advance before the commencement of the project during mobilization phase. Project manager must seek formal approval on a well-defined and clearly articulated scope. To identify scope, requirements must be gathered from all stakeholders. Gathering requirements from only a few stakeholders or only the sponsor might lead to incorrect definition of scope. Large projects require more time, effort and resources to gather requirements and thus defining the scope is important. Scope definition helps us make sure that we are doing all the work but only the work included in the scope management plan. Gold plating a project (adding extras) is not allowed. Changes in scope must be taken into consideration all the knowledge areas of project management such as time, cost, risk, quality, resources and customer satisfaction. Integrated change management process is required to approve changes to scope of a project. Integrated Change Management includes updating of Change Request Form by Change Originator and also tracking the change on Change Control Register.

Scope Management is the listing of the items to be produced or tasks to be done to the required quantity, quality and variety, in the time and with the resources available and agreed upon, and the modification of those variable constraints by dynamic flexible juggling in the event of changed circumstance called as Scope creep.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) - Fourth Edition. Project Management Institute, 2008. ISBN 978-1-933890-51-7