When organizations embark on implementing their projects, they aim for nothing less than success. Project managers are responsible for ensuring that the project’s goal is achieved. To do this, they must use the right tools. A project scope statement is a tool that can be used throughout the implementation of the project. It is a critical component of a project management plan. It can be used by stakeholders, project managers, the teams working on the project, and clients. However, for the scope statement to be used, there must be a clear understanding of what it is, why it is essential and how it can be written. This article will help elaborate these details to help ease the creation of a comprehensive and informative scope statement with the help of multiple examples.
Project scope summarizes the goals, deadlines, and project deliverables. It, therefore, outlines the work that will need to be done to complete a project. It is also used to outline the limitations of the project to manage stakeholder expectations.
Project Scope Statement
The project scope statement outlines the boundaries of the project by defining its expected results, assumptions, and constraints. It aims to figure out the work that must be done by establishing work responsibilities and procedures to be followed throughout the project’s lifecycle. The contents of the project scope statement must be agreed on by all involved parties, including stakeholders, clients and the project team, as it eases their ability to measure the success of the project. The project statement can also be referred to as a statement of work (SoW), contract, or proposal.
Why Does it Matter?
The project scope statement provides stakeholders with crucial information about the project, including its constraints, boundaries, guidelines on implementation, work breakdown structure, and participants. In addition, it helps determine how much has been included in the scope depending on the amounts stakeholders or clients are paying. Therefore, the more that is paid, the more that is added to the scope.
The project scope will help ensure that the stockholders and clients understand the work that needs to be done to implement the project. It helps define the boundaries, expected outcomes, constraints, assumptions, among other factors related to the project. It also establishes a strong foundation for the project and helps ensure that resources are used appropriately. It plays an essential role in managing expectations and preparing stakeholders for future problems. It also helps in the identification of processes that will be impacted by the project along with internal and external entities that may connect the project team.
The project scope statement also acts as a record of what stakeholders agreed on to avoid confusion during the implementation of the project. It helps ensure that the team does not over or under-deliver. It also provides the team with supporting documentation if they need to request more time and money. Stakeholders can use the project scope statement to ensure that critical functions are not overlooked or omitted from the project, which may impact the deliverables.
Project Scope Statement Vs. Scope of Work Vs. Project Management Plan
The project scope statement and scope of work have apparent differences. The scope of work lays out the agreement made been the contactor and client, the work that needs to be done, who and when it should be done. In addition, it outlines the project timeline, deliverables, milestones, and reports documenting the progress of the project. The main difference is that a project scope focuses on the project itself, whereas the scope statement focuses on the project and should be expected as a result of the project plan.
A project scope management plan provides a detailed description that outlines how the project will be executed. It is usually created after the project scope statement. It enables the stockholders to monitor and control the process by documenting and tracking the different phases to avoid continuous or uncontrollable growth of the project’s scope (scope creep). The main difference is that a project scope statement doesn’t provide the same in-depth look into how the project is executed.
Project Scope Statement Vs. Other Documents
Other documents should be considered before, after, and while creating the project scope statement. However, these documents cannot be used in place of it. They include a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) that must be signed before the discussion about how the projects are held, a Master Service Agreement (MSA) which defines the relationship and dictates how future engagements will take place, and an Independent Contract Agreement (ICA) which is used when dealing with freelancers, contractors, or professional services. A service level agreement (SLA) should also be considered. It helps create boundaries between the company and its clients.
It is also important that the product scope and project master plan are considered upon conclusion of the project scope statement. The product scope helps define the functions and features of the deliverables of the project. On the other hand, the project master plan goes into further detail on the work structure to be followed during the implementation of the project. It outlies the project schedule and procedures for managing risks, quality and communication.
Note: Why the project is initiated. Projects are initiated with the aim of meeting goals set out by the organization. For instance, the goal of a project may be to help create a new product or service or solve a challenge the organization may be facing. This goal must be outlined in the project scope statement to ensure that it is clear as to why the project has been initiated.
Project Scope Statement Outline (What to Include)
How the project scope template is written may differ between project failure and success. The components of a scope statement may vary as the organization may carry out different types of projects. However, creating a standard project scope template can enable the organization to reuse the same document when creating a new project scope statement. In order for an effective project scope template to be created, a number of standard elements must be present in it.
They include the following:
What the project is about (overview)
The project scope template should outline what the project is. The writer of the project scope template should indicate the projects’ vision to help show the value it will possibly add to its clients. The overview should be brief and straight to the point.
Goals and objectives
The purpose of the project is defined by its goals and objects. The goals of the project help explain what it hopes to achieve, while the objectives define the steps that need to be taken for the goals to be reached. Therefore, the writer should be specific when outlining the goals and objectives to help justify the project’s existence.
Project requirements must be met to meet the stockholder’s needs and expectations. Therefore, the project scope template should contain project requirements like expected quality, risk, costs, and benefits. They will establish control over the expectations of the outcome.
Governance (who has approval)
The project scope template should identify who has the approval of the project. The project is usually approved by an individual who provides resources. These individuals may be the project manager, project sponsor, or functional manager.
Scope description (how the project will be completed)
A clear description of how the project will be completed should be provided. A comprehensive scope description can be provided by breaking down the work, listing what is in and out of the scope, identifying limitations, and creating a scope baseline to identify if the project is on schedule. The scope description helps establish a range for the project.
Deliverables and activities (what will be produced)
A comprehensive list of what will be produced at the end of the project should be incorporated in the project scope template. The deliverables and activities provided can be, for example, a product, marketing materials, software installation, among others. The list should be specific to ensure clients know what to expect.
Project key milestones/timeline (when it will be delivered)
The project scope template should outline when shareholders can expect the project delivered. Complex projects require the incorporation of millstones that have specific dates. The millstones will help in monitoring the progress of completion of a deliverable.
Project exclusions help identify what the project will not have. They may be specific tasks, items, or actions. Incorporating them in the project scope template will help clear uncertainties for those involved.
The limitation or constraints are the project help establish boundaries. The most common limitations of a project are the triple constraints, namely time, money, and scope. Other constraints like risks, organization, method, among others, can also be indicated. Indicating them helps stakeholders prepare solutions so that the project is not delayed.
Estimate and payment schedule (what it will cost)
The estimated cost of the project should be included in the project scope template. The stakeholder can compare the estimated cost of the project to the actual cost. A payment schedule should also be included to ensure that the project is not delayed due to insufficient funds.
Assumptions (what is and isn’t included)
The assumptions indicated in the project scope template will be based on the constraints indicated. Listing the project assumptions enables stakeholders to identify significant risk factors. It also helps identify project needs. The assumptions indicated must be validated before they are documented in the project scope template.
Signatures of stakeholders
Lastly, the stakeholders’ signatures must be indicated on the project scope template. The signatures confirm that stakeholders understand the contents of the project scope template. It helps avoid miscommunication and frustration affecting work on the project.
Project Scope Statement Templates
There are free downloadable project scope statements templates to help ease the writing process. The project scope templates are predesigned to help you focus on the content. They provide a framework of the elements that must be included, ensuring that important details are not left out of the document. They also help save time as you do not have to create the document from scratch.
Effective Practices for Writing a Compelling PSS
A few practices should be considered when writing a project scope template. These practices will help ensure that the statement is communicated effectively and compellingly.
They include the following:
Avoid using jargon-heavy language
Using jargon-heavy language can confuse the project scope template as different groups of people will refer to it. Information from multiple departments and specialists should be written in a clear, consistent language. Words that may be unfamiliar or difficult for a reader should be defined.
Keep it short
The project scope template should be short because it aims to seek stakeholder buy-in. The stakeholders will appreciate a simple document that does not interfere with their busy schedules. It also helps to evoke their interest in a more elaborate presentation.
Stay away from sweeping statements
Making statements that cannot be backed up could lead to overcommitment of resources. However, it will also help ensure that the team does not over-deliver, which can also harm the project.
Make sure it answers questions
Significant interest questions should be answered. They may include the project’s long-term benefits, if it offers something new to customers and if it is better than what is already on the market. These questions will help ease the concerns of involved parties.
A project scope statement provides a detailed outline of the work that needs to be done and the deliverables of a project. It helps stakeholders identify the constraints, boundaries, exclusions and work breakdown structure. It also acts as a reference for stakeholders, project managers, the team, and clients. Though the project scope statement may be related to the scope of work and project management plan, there are apparent differences that help distinguish each of these documents.
Creating a project scope template can help ease the drafting of a project scope statement. It is vital that the template contains standard elements to ensure that vital information is not left out when filling in the template. The writer should also consider a few tips when writing the project scope statement. They will help ensure that the project scope statement communicates key details effectively to those involved in implementing the project.