Project Scope Management Plan
Project Scope Management Plan
A Project Scope Management Plan sets out how the scope of a project will be controlled and monitored during a project’s life cycle. It documents:
- what is to be done
- how goals are to be achieved
- what risks and constraints apply
- how ad hoc requests for scope change will be managed
- the roles and responsibilities of those involved.
Anything outside of the approved scope of work is ‘out of scope’ and not a concern of this plan.
Components of a Project Scope Management Plan
Two important components of a Project Scope Management Plan are the:
- Statement of Scope
- Work Breakdown Structure.
The Statement of Scope outlines what the project will deliver and how, and describes stakeholders, cost estimates and controls, as well as project benefits and criteria for project success.
The Work Breakdown Structure itemises, in a hierarchical fashion, the tasks needed to complete all the work described in the Statement of Scope.
Managing scope change
As a project progresses, factors may arise that impact on its scope: technological advances, policy changes, unforseen risks or constraints, adjusted stakeholder requirements or changed assumptions. Stakeholders may also request certain changes, sometimes unadvisedly.
A Project Scope Management Plan outlines procedures on what is to be done in this event:
- either to admit the proposed change after evaluating and validating it and adjust project scope
- or to declare that it is ‘out of scope’.
Changes to scope have potential cost, time and resource implications and need to be carefully managed if project outcomes are not to be jeopardised.
Developing a project scope management plan
One of the key reasons why a Project Scope Management Plan is needed is to avoid scope creep. Scope creep is the combined effect of a number of small scope changes made either to what stakeholders require or to technical aspects of certain components. Scope creep, if not managed, can result in uncontrolled cumulative increases in cost, resource demands and time delays.
This is why it very important that the scope of work is carefully defined from the very start, to minimise later adjustments. This requires communicating and negotiating with stakeholders and gathering all the information required to make informed decisions.
Development of a Project Scope Management Plan
Developing a Project Scope Management Plan requires:
- setting the scope of the project
- drawing up a scope statement that is approved by stakeholders
- developing a work breakdown structure
- identifying approaches and techniques to be used during the course of a project to avoid scope creep.
The Project Scope Management Plan should be drawn up as soon as the project scope has been defined and approved. It will provide the instruction needed and the responsibilities required to manage ad hoc requests to change project scope throughout the life of a project.
For more detailed information on the function of, and preparation of, a Project Scope Management Plan—and for a suggested plan template, visit:
https://is.rhs.msu.edu/projectmanagement — and then click on the ‘Project Scope Management Plan template