To prepare to make my famous Pecan Pie and Macaron’s, I ran to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients I needed. I have been making these for years and I thought I knew exactly what I needed. Was I wrong! So here I am walking down the aisles – confidently thinking I would be home baking in 30 minutes. When I get home 15 minutes later only to discover that I did get the main ingredients, I forgot to buy vanilla beans, unsalted butter and bought the wrong type of chocolate.

What I should have done is to review my recipe, check my pantry, made a list and then I would not have had to send my husband out for more ingredients! So this threw off my schedule by 2 hours!

Now, Imagine you are undertaking a new project, you wouldn’t want to start without knowing exactly you goals and what you needed to accomplish, right? The PMBOK® defines Project Scope as the “The work that needs to be accomplished to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions.” Last year, PMI’s Global Project Survey revealed that “52% of the projects completed in the past 12 months experienced scope creep or uncontrolled changes to the project’s scope.”

A poorly developed scope will almost ensure project failure on some level and it invites scope creep. To achieve the objectives in a project, you need to map out where you are, where you need to be and the path to get there.

  • Project Goals
    • You will need to meet with the stakeholders to gather information and define what requirements the project will accomplish. Ensure that you document the justification for the project and why it was initiated.
  • What work effort is and is not included
    • An effort to measure the requirements against cost and schedule will need to be conducted. This will assist in reducing scope creep and completing the project within a reasonable time frame. Often, the “nice to have’s” will need to be address in a second phase at a later date.
  • Project Phases and Tasks
    • Start your project plan and include a Work Break down Structure (WBS) of the deliverables and the tasks required to get you to that point. Define how the deliverables will be reviewed and accepted by the client.  Also include any potential constraints or risks you may face so that you can plan accordingly.
  • Schedule
    • Ensure that you account for time for review and approval of deliverables. In addition, always add in time for testing and quality control.
  • Budget
    • Include the effort and resources it will take to complete the tasks.  Ensure you include soft costs (team’s time, consulting and professional services) as well as the hard costs (software and hardware)
  • Resources
    • Creation of a resource matrix will ensure that your team has the right skill set, as well as validating that they are available.  You may also need time to procure additional hardware, software or skill sets that require lead time.

You will want to maintain a baseline of these criteria to ensure that once completed, you can review the original scope against the activities completed. This will assist in defining your project success.