The planning process of any project is an integral part of attaining success. And in that planning process, defining your project scope is likely the most critical step.
The scope is what will determine what all you’re delivering to the client as well as outlines the general boundaries of the project. Without a well-defined project scope, you’ll have a difficult time managing the scope of your project, which in turn will undermine the success of your project – and likely, your budget.
If you’re a seasoned Las Vegas civil engineer, you likely know and understand what the scope of a project refers to. That said, it can be difficult to define scope when you’re new to the industry or are working on a project that is unfamiliar to you.
If you’re struggling to grasp the concept of scope in a project, it’s important to remember that the scope includes two vital components: your project deliverables and your project boundaries. Let’s talk about each of these components in greater detail.
The Deliverables of Your Project
While your project is one big deliverable, it is also full of smaller deliverables produced by the project. You might refer to these deliverables as “products,” and that’s exactly how you should think of them: products that your client has “ordered” on a certain timetable and for a certain price.
The scope of your project should always include a detailed outline of all deliverables. For your purposes, try to include only the final deliverables of your project, not the milestones that will happen along the way or the internal deliverables that are required to get the work done.
If you’re having a hard time defining the deliverables of your project, think about it in terms of what your client is expecting to “receive” from you.
When you’re outlining the scope of your project, you’ll need to also consider your project boundaries. Boundary statements will help you define what is included in your project, and what is not, which in turn will help set expectations before the work actually begins.
It’s important to identify as many boundaries as possible, keeping in mind that you only need to list aspects of the project as “in scope” if there is a counterpart that would be considered “out of scope.” These might include things like:
In-Scope and Out-of-Scope Life-cycle Processes: Each project includes a number of life-cycle processes, from analysis to design to construction to testing. That said, you may only be including one or two of these phases in your project. If you’re responsible for analyzing and designing the project but not the construction or testing of it, your scope should reflect that. Your boundary statements will specify which life cycle processes you’re including.
Project Participants: Your scope might include certain parties or participants but not others. For example, your project might include the accounting department, but not some other departments. Be sure your boundary statement includes who is involved in the project and affected by the project, so everyone will be clear as to who is not.
Project Functionality: Determining the delivered functionality of your project is also an important component to include in your scope. Determine the degree of functionality you’ve agreed to deliver to your client and ensure that this is properly and appropriately communicated through your project scope.
Outlining the scope of your project can be intimidating, but it can be easier if you simply remember the two major areas your scope should include: your agreed-upon deliverables and the project boundaries.
Once you’ve determined all the “products” you’ll deliver as well as the boundaries in which those projects will fall, you’re more likely to create a successful project scope.